(Semi-spoiler but if you go see the movie and don’t read this first, you’ll have only yourself to blame.)
Sarah (Jennifer Anniston) is on her way to Pasadena with boyfriend Jeff ( Mark Ruffalo) for her sister Annie’s (Mena Suvari) wedding. Sarah and Jeff are engaged but Sarah tells Jeff she isn’t wearing her ring because she wants to wait to announce their wedding.
Dad Earl (Richard Jenkins) meets them at the airport and proceeds to Pasaden-ize Jeff.
Sarah is kind of identity neurotic; she doesn’t fit in with her family; she’s nervous about marrying Jeff. Over the weekend she finds out from her mother’s mother Katharine (“I told you not to call me Grandma!” Shirely MacLaine) that her own now deceased mom took off a week before her wedding; she went to Cabo and had a fling with Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner). It suddenly occurs to Sarah that her family story sounds a lot like that of The Graduate. She proceeds to investigate so she can discover who she is. And of course it involves sleeping with you-know-who.
That’s the movie in a nut shell, which is where it belongs.
I know there are a lot of Jennifer Anniston fans out there, but someone really has to get her a script that doesn’t look like a charity handout.
This film had three things going for it: close-ups of Jennifer’s face and hair; Shirley MacLaine (all four funny lines are hers and they were all in the trailers; will we never learn?) and Richard Jenkins who played the father with dignity; Earl was a great choice of name for him.
Here’s what the writers (shame on them) should have done: made this Shirley MacLaine’s movie. She’s a really funny lady. Can you imagine going back and seeing this story through Mrs. Robinson’s POV?