Love Happens

Release Date: September 18, 2009

Eat your heart out, Brad.

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Position Staff In Brief
65/169 Max Braden I was surprised by this romance and really liked the interaction between Eckhart and Aniston.

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The idea for this one sounds reminiscent enough of the recent P.S. I Love You - widower (Aaron Ekchart) getting over recent spouse's death encounters new romance (Jennifer Aniston), approaching the situation hesitantly and flash-backing into his previous relationship.

For Aniston, it's the first clear starring role since The Break-Up (2006), after possibly being somewhat overshadowed by the Labrador in Marley & Me and the all-star cast in He's Just Not That Into You. Still, she's certainly got a strong streak of hits, and now remains one of the few actresses over 40 who is commercially viable as a leading actress in romantic comedies or dramas (Sandra Bullock may be the only other).

Eckhart is a good foil. He touched up his romantic comedy/drama credentials with the semi-historical Possession (2002) and the minor hit No Reservations (2007), which remains Catherine Zeta-Jones' last big starring role of the decade. He looks ripe for another film in that vein, after his profile was raised considerably by the box office and critical success of The Dark Knight (his performance in that film is often termed as underrated). The supporting cast looks like the standard for this sort of film - without doing any research, I can already tell that Judy Greer will play Jennifer Aniston's quirky, wise-cracking second banana, Dan Fogler will be Eckhart's best mate, and Martin Sheen will play a wise older character (Eckhart's father?) who dispenses plot-changing advice to his inferiors. The direction is by first-timer Brandon Camp. His biggest credits are as co-creator/writer, along with Mike Thompson, for the one-season Fox Network show John Doe (2002-2003) and the story idea behind the largely-forgotten Kevin Costner film Dragonfly (2002). Thompson's also credited as co-screenwriter with Camp on Brand New Day, and it certainly looks like the duo specializes in romantic-drama-mystery combos.

Although it's got no connection to author Nicholas Sparks, the film's dabbling in middle aged romance and probable themes of death and new love seem to come straight out of Sparks' cinematic repertoire. And so its box office performance will probably fall somewhere in between similar Sparks product like Nights in Rodanthe (2008) and the more successful Message In A Bottle (1999). Romantic dramas for this age group seem to have some shelf life left, and Brand New Day will probably perform like another sturdy enough sample. (Michael Lynderey/BOP)

Vital statistics for Love Happens
Main Cast Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Dan Fogler
Supporting Cast Judy Greer, Martin Sheen, Joe Anderson, John Carroll Lynch
Director Brandon Camp
Screenwriter Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson
Distributor Universal Pictures
Rating PG-13
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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