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October 5, 2001

Serendipity induces anger, longing for alcohol

Have you ever tried to write something with three college guys putting drum sticks up their noses and making a ridiculous amount of noise in the background? It's pretty much guaranteed to piss you off and make it impossible to review anything fairly impartially. It's a good thing for you and me that Serendipity doesn't deserve a fair or impartial review.

Still, I did go into the whole experience with a pretty good attitude. When my roommate gave me two tickets to go see the sneak preview at Doc a week or so ago, I thought that I was the luckiest guy in the world. There was a certain girl I was hoping I could take, and (miracle of miracles!) she actually agreed to go with me. This, in and of itself, was enough to put me in a remarkably good mood. I was all ready to give John Cusack a chance to win my heart with his flair for nervous, angsty romance. I expected a date movie. I wasn't expecting a work of art. I wasn't expecting originality, or much in the way of surprises.

Armed with these expectations, I set off for Ida Noyes. I was a little put off by the pushy, noisy crowd that greeted me on my arrival. But I was still looking forward to watching a movie, and my anticipation stayed pretty keen. This was at least in part due to the large crowd, which forced me to stand much closer to my date than socially acceptable under normal circumstances. When we shouldered our way into the theater and sat down, I was prepared for an uneventful, relatively pleasant viewing experience. What I got instead was more or less equivalent to having 12 to 14 of the cutest baby bunnies you've ever seen crammed down your throat with a ramrod by two enormous men who don't introduce themselves but were born without necks and in all likelihood have names like “Reynaldo" or “Fat Tony."

“Schlock" doesn't even begin to describe Serendipity. The movie blew its load of romantic tension after going at it for the movie equivalent of about fifteen seconds, leaving me as unsatisfied as I can remember being in a long time. I walked out of the theater with my head down and a bad taste in my mouth, doing the post-cinematic equivalent of The Walk of Shame. This was a very humiliating experience for me, especially considering how long I stood in line just to get into the film.

Considering how humiliating it was for me to sit in a darkened theater and anonymously see the movie, I can only imagine how terrible an experience it must have been for John Cusack to stand in front of cameras for days on end wearing a haircut that would have been considered bad in the '80s and frankly hasn't really aged well.

But his hair is more than simply bad, it's downright puzzling. It looks like he began by growing his bangs out. And then some other parts of his hair got jealous and grew themselves out while he wasn't looking, leaving the back of his head with what can only be described as a proto-mullet. The final impression isn't that it is bad '80s hair or bad '90s hair as much as it is simply bad hair. Which leaves me questioning why some director would pair an attractive, if slightly nerdy, John Cusack with a very attractive woman like Kate Beckinsale and then give one of them such an atrocious haircut that you have to ask yourself if the two of them could really get together. She's a babe, and he's a guy whose particular brand of attractiveness is very easily overshadowed by an immaculately confused haircut.

Ideally, when a “date" movie is over you can walk out of the movie, hand-in-hand with your date, hopefully cuddled up a little closer than you were when you walked in to the movie. This isn't a “date" movie. It's a punishment. According to the Internet — the modern Oracle of Delphi — taglines for Serendipity include “Can Once in a Lifetime Happen Twice?" and “Destiny With a Sense of Humor". If you ask me, they should have included taglines like, “Jim's Dad Will Get on Your Nerves," “Jeremy Piven is Still Bald," and “Man With Bad Haircut Nails English Babe".

In retrospect, I think I probably should have just stuck drum sticks in my nose, drank some wine that came from a box, and made a bunch of unnecessary noise with my roommates instead of writing this article. Spending any more than thirty minutes writing about something that sucks this much seems like a colossal waste of my valuable time. Having to sit here rehashing an experience that I would rather not have had in the first place hasn't exactly done wonders for my mood. I'm not going to say that this has driven me to drink, but I will say this: as soon as I finish writing I am going to my kitchen. I am going to pick up the handle of whiskey left over from Saturday night. I am going to pour myself a large glass of said whiskey. And I am going to drink until I can neither see straight nor remember having written any of this. So please do us both a favor. Don't let it happen to you. Stay away from Serendipity. And bottoms up.