Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Love Happens

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2009 at 12:00 AM

It's a bad omen when a movie with a generic title opens with the hoariest cliché of them all: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Fittingly, that's the job at hand for viewers of this maudlin romantic weeper, forced to find sweetness in an otherwise drab elixir. 

Aaron Eckhart plays a motivational speaker who has lost his motivation, secretly moping over his dead wife, while selling others on a sunny-side-up program of grief recovery. He's throwing a weeklong seminar in rainy Seattle, urging clients to walk on hot coals, while he can barely drag himself across the bedroom carpet every morning. 

The predictably quirky gal who'll make him see the light again is Jennifer Anniston's nurturing Eloise, a florist who saves her clients' love notes, scribbles challenging words on hotel walls, and tools around town in a vintage '60s Ford Falcon van. Detroit native Judy Greer, who has the market cornered on wacky sidekick roles, plays her daffy best gal pal. Spastic Jack Black aspirant Dan Fogler plays Eckhart's backup, and his shtick here is but mildly annoying. Everybody ably goes through the rom-com motions, and not without the inevitable rock concert, poetry slam and chatty cockatoo. 

Despite the best efforts of newbie director Brandon Camp to suck every drop of joy from the picture, Eckhart and Anniston charm their way to the finish line. The camera loves them both, and audiences in search of dependable comfort food will make do with the movie around them.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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