Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
A romantic comedy with all the excitement of an AARP magazine cover story, 2005’s Rumor Has It … is filled with electrons, not a positive charge around for miles.
This sort-of sequel to The Graduate represented Rob Reiner’s low point in a directorial descent from must-see to must-flee.
Yes, Reiner took over at the 11th hour for screenwriter Ted Griffin, unceremoniously booted from the director’s chair shortly after filming began. But not only does Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston’s stilted, predatory, creepy romance make one long for When Harry Met Sally… (ellipses and all), it makes one willing to bleed for even Reiner’s forgettable Alex and Emma.
When a writer (Aniston, lower lip quivering on demand, but unconvincingly) learns her family may have inspired The Graduate, she seeks out entrepreneur Beau Burroughs (Costner), the ersatz Ben Braddock. Will he complete the grandma-mom-daughter trifecta, no matter how disquieting it gets?
Their fling is meant to be instructional, but it’s simply icky, with brief incestuous panic that’s a cheat six times over. (Never so often has the term “blunt testicular trauma” been invoked as a punchline.)
Shirley MacLaine (as the would-be Mrs. Robinson) and Mark Ruffalo (as Aniston’s stuffed-shirt fiancé) wring the two feeble laughs Rumor musters. In lieu of requisitely snappy screwball pep, there’s musty Nellie McKay songs, soundstage sterility and the utterly bogus circumstance that, in 1997, Costner would be 55 and MacLaine 77.
Given talk of infertility, let it be said Rumor is a series of rocky places in which comedy’s seed can find no purchase.