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With: John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale, Jeremy Piven, Bridget Moynahan, Molly Shannon, Eugene Levy
Written by: Marc Klein
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, and for brief language
Running Time: 90
Date: 09/13/2001

Serendipity (2001)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Music of Chance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

More so than Tom Hanks or Billy Crystal, John Cusack is the king of the modern American romantic comedy. No other actor has been able to project a cynical cool as well as transparent longing like Cusack in films like The Sure Thing, Say Anything, High Fidelity, and even America's Sweethearts.

So Serendipity, which delivers its romance in a warm, straightforward way with no frills, comes as a welcome addition to the list. Cusack meets the stunningly beautiful Kate Beckinsale on a snowy Christmastime night in New York City (it couldn't be more romantic). But the intelligent young lovers decide to leave their future up to fate, giving themselves several little tests to see if they can find one another again. Years pass, and both of them are engaged to other people, but they're unable to stop thinking, "what if?"

Jeremy Piven brings an energetic cleverness to his role as Cusack's buddy and partner in crime, and even the usually overbaked Molly Shannon seems right as Beckinsale's friend. Director Peter Chelsom and writer Marc Klein allow their characters to be smart and open, as opposed to the usual foolish sitcom formula, and New York and San Francisco become beautiful romantic partners equal to Cusack and Beckinsale. A lovely, unforgettable treasure.

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