Fri, May 24

Film Review: Rumor Has It

Rumor Has It is about an hour and a half long and if you can stand to laugh for 80 minutes out of 90, you'll enjoy this film. And anytime during the movie when Shirley Maclaine is not on screen, you'll be wishing for her return.

Rumor Has It is a story about the past catching up with a Pasadena family. Shirley MacLaine is Grandma Katherine, the matriarch of the family. In her younger days she had a brief, wild affair with a local lady-killer, Beau Burroughs. Beau also bedded Katherine's daughter, Jocelyn, just before Jocelyn's wedding to Earl. Jocelyn died of illness 10 years later. There were two daughters, Sarah and Annie.

Sarah and her fiancé arrive from New York to attend Annie's wedding. One of the mysteries of Sarah's life is that she is so totally different from the rest of her family. The irascible Katherine spills the beans about the Burroughs affairs. When Sarah discovers that one of the high school classmates of Beau and Jocelyn was Charles Webb, the man who wrote The Graduate, she realizes that the book is about her family.

It occurs to her that she might actually be Beau's daughter thus accounting for her feeling of being a misfit in the family. She seeks out Beau Burroughs and finds him in San Francisco. He's a super-rich business tycoon, not reluctant to tell all to Sarah. Poor Sarah is stunned by all this and it adds to the turmoil in her mind about getting married. Her fiancé is great but she's afraid of marriage.

There's almost no physical or slapstick comedy in Rumor Has It. It's a sophisticated script with hilarious dialog delivered by Jennifer Aniston as Sarah, Kevin Costner as Beau, Richard Jenkins as Earl and Shirley MacLaine as Katherine. Especially ­ most especially ­ by Shirley MacLaine. Katherine is an independent, tough-minded, outspoken tiger of a woman. She brooks no annoyances from other people and is very clear in letting them know that. Her acid tongue and withering stare bring down anybody in her sights. When a server at a large party tells her there's no smoking allowed, she first tells him where to go and then snaps, "And get me an ashtray!"

Mark Ruffalo is Jeff, Sarah's fiancé. He has most of the straight lines in the movie. He's a lawyer and he's desperately trying to cope with Sarah's confusion.

Rob Reiner directed Rumor Has It and, as usual, has given us a first-rate piece of entertainment.

Rumor Has It is playing at the Harkins Theatres Sedona 6.