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:: Serendipity

Serendipity pairs the likeable actors John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale in one of those feel-good movies. Cusack plays Jonathan Tragar and Beckinsale plays Sara Thomas. They just happen to meet during a pre-Christmas shopping rush and spend some quality time together for a short period. But they both have established relationships and they must soon part company. There is a sense that fate brought them together on this occasion and they test the opportunity. Jonathan writes his name and phone number on a $5 note. Sara gives her contact details on the inside page of a book, “Love In The Time Of Cholera”. Both items are put into circulation. Therefore, if either person finds the other’s details, they will know that fate means that they should be together.

What follows could be classed as sweet, delightful and romantic – typical of the Christmas theme. But in a sense, one can foresee the romantic expectations and inevitable result. It depends on how romantic comedies want to be viewed. Here, Joanthan and Sara are seen mostly apart. Usually, star-crossed lovers are always together.

British director Peter Chelsom shows them almost bumping into each other a number of times while running around New York and San Francisco. The story moves forward seven years. They are still looking for each other, but with slightly less intent. They are both on the verge of marriage, by this time, yet there is still that thought of one another in the back of their minds.

So, one can get the drift of the story early on, and it is a predictable style. It’s still fun to go on their ride, though it’s not calculated. The director orchestrates the coincidences and moments with style and panache. The film is aided by having the personable John Cusack very involved in this style of film. He is so affable that you are willing him to seek his desire. Kate Beckinsale is an attractive counterpart and their initial scene clicks well enough to make you understand why they would still be thinking about each other seven years later. She has come on in leaps and bounds as an actress and, after a couple of leading roles last year, looks set for stronger roles. The supporting cast provides the laughs. Jeremy Piven plays Cusack’s best friend while Molly Shannon is likewise to Beckinsale. Eugene Levy adds some droll humour as the department store’s salesman.

Romantic comedy lovers will swoon over “Serendipity”. It is sentimental and will leave some people in a warm frame of mind, although a little too lukewarm for others – it’s a good film for a date. Be sure to take in the picturesque parts of New York and the appropriate soundtrack.

Screening on general release