Love Happens

by | Sep 21st, 2009 | 4:06PM | Filed under: Theatrical Reviews


Love_happens poster

I know what you’re thinking: “Why do I have to watch so many mediocre love movies just to get all the romantic, cinematic clichés I want and need? Why isn’t there just one mediocre film romance that has them all?”

Well, never fear, your search is over. Now you can get all the sap you need in one place! I give you Love Happens, your 24-hour, one-stop romantic cliché shop! No pandering is too low! No scene, character, dialogue, or action is too familiar or overused! No gesture or idea is too trite or cheesy!

Don’t believe me? Let’s go to the critic’s card!

Actors better than the material?

Check. Aaron Eckhart is a swell thespian and has a great leading-man marquee face. It would look good on the marquee for any film other than this. And I’m not on the hate-Jen Aniston train, but a few more performances where she stoops to conquer by taking thin, moronic roles in awful movies and I will learn to hate. I will work at it.

The healer who must heal himself?

Check. Eckhart writes a book about dealing with grief and gives seminars to help others. It’s not about the money! But wait, here’s the thing: He’s not dealing with his own grief. It’s all like ironic!

Flashbacks to a tragic car accident on a rainy night?

Check. Leftover footage from Seven Pounds appears to have been put to good, recycled use. But later, when Eckhart’s character puts a deadly jellyfish on his head? That seems more like stealing than homage.

A meet cute?

Check. They bump into each other. Yep, for real. Nothing like keeping it simple with the classics.

Followed by pretending to not like each other?


Where they angrily tell each other all the obvious, superficial things that are wrong with one another?


In the men’s bathroom?

Check. “Hey lady, this is the men’s room! You can’t be in here!

Awkward first date?

Check. Please. Ba-dum-bum.


Jennifer Aniston does that thing where she gets all cutely flustered?


And then pulls out her signature move where she looks off and up to one side, sets her jaw, and then thinks really hard, only kind of sarcastically, like she already knows the answer?


The main character is about to close a big business deal that will change his professional and financial situation?

Check. But then Jan loses the blueprints on an amusement park ride!


One of the leads has a cool, quasi-creative job that is their life’s passion and they are very good at?

Check. Aniston owns a flower shop, because having flowers nearby makes her seem less shrill and one-dimensional.

Upper-mid-sized American city that has quirky charms and hip-cool cred that was teetering on the edge of cinematic overexposure a decade ago?

Check. Seattle.

Safe, tame, pseudo-crunchy post-hippie soft-rock band?

Check. They attend a Rogue Wave concert and watch it from a telephone-company cherry picker. It’s just every bit as off-beat and adorable as it sounds.

Soft, sappy ballads sung by female singer-songwriters?

Check. It’s helpful to know when you’re supposed to be sad and/or wistful.

Uptight professional type loosens up at a boho artistic happening?

Check. Poetry slam. Apparently it’s still 1998 in Seattle.


Big, lovable, slobbery dog?

Che… wait, no! There is no big, lovable slobbery dog! Lemme check my notes again… there must be, right? Oh wait, in this afternoon’s performance the role of the big, lovable slobbery dog will be played by…

Weird, annoying cockatoo?


Grief and freedom symbolized by a bird flying up into the sky?


Opportunistic agent who wheels and deals and brags, but turns out to be a true friend with a heart of gold?

Check. Dan Fogler, as Eckhart’s hustling shill, but deep down he’s a sweetie.

Female lead’s wacky best-girlfriend who seems like a flake, but always the right answers in her own goofy way?

Check. The always-terrific Judy Greer. She’s wacky. And flaky. And goofy. And far too talented to be in something like this.

Supporting actors showing up the leads?

Check. Fogel and Greer shine. They need to star in their own romantic comedy. And John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, Zodiac) is nice and sad and stuff.


Estranged family members, torn apart by grief and anger?

Check. Martin Sheen plays’s Eckhart’s father-in-law. He’s blustery and grumpy. Like Jed Bartlet, if Jed Bartlet hated cockatoos. He and Eckhart have issues. There’s guilt and blame. And a cockatoo.

Lead roams to top of local landmark to ponder his life?

Check. What the hell else is the Space Needle good for?

Lead takes group of seminar attendees on a seemingly silly but ultimately poignant and enriching field trip?

Check. As in, Home Depot’s is in the mail. Ah, the healing power of hardware and emotional tool-belt epiphanies.

Hugging and learning?

Check. All over the place. Try not to step in it.

Big climactic speech in which hurting lead spills his guts on a public stage and truly begins the healing process?

Check. Turns out Aaron Eckhart’s deep, dark secret is that he doesn’t read scripts before signing contracts.

Slow clap?

Check. Yes. Oh, my god, yes. There is a slow clap. Today. In 2009. In a real movie, not a parody.

Big business deal seems to be sunk by lead’s earnest public breakdown, but it turns out the flinty, hardnosed CEO of the company likes earnest public breakdowns?

Check. This happens all the time in real life. Ask my last eight bosses.

Uplifting, utterly meaningless, overused tag line?

Check. “Sometimes when you least expect it love happens.”

Better tag line?

Check. ”If you just lower your expectations and standards, Love Happens.”

17 Responses to “Love Happens

  1. Mickey
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Wait a sec… You mean that the slow clap is a bad thing?

  2. millar74
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    this is why i love redblog. i laughed, i cried, i made a decision to save my money. thanks Locke!

  3. Locke Peterseim
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Wait, did I imply a Slow Clap is a BAD thing?
    No, I meant the Slow Clap is such a powerful cinematic tool, so emotionally rich, that like anything that good, if it’s not used properly it can overwhelm a film. For example, I cannot remember anything that happened in Love Happens after the Slow Clap. Okay, maybe that was because I was too busy rolling on the floor… but rolling on the floor in EMOTIONAL OVERLOAD from the Power of the Slow Clap.
    Which gives me an idea for a fun little redblog game: Great scenes in classic movies that would be even GREATER if they’d had a Slow Clap.
    I’ll start:
    When Chuck Yeager crashes his jet in the desert at the end of The Right Stuff and comes striding out carrying his parachute? What if the guys driving the chase truck had parked, gotten out, and given him a nice Slow Clap?
    Or when Clint Eastwood rides out of town in the rain at the end of The Unforgiven after killing Little Bill, what if instead of cowering in their homes, the citizens had come out into the streets and given him a Slow Clap?
    Or when Dorothy comes out of her house and sees the smashed legs of the Wicked Witch of the East under the porch, shouldn’t Glenda and all the munchkins have given her a Slow Clap?

  4. Spaz
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Am I the only person who liked Seven Pounds despite all the cliche there?

  5. Trevor L.
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    When Darth Vader kills the Emperor, Luke should have slow clapped.

  6. Locke Peterseim
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Actually, Spaz, while I didn’t LOVE Seven Pounds as an overall film, I did like some things about it, and was intrigued by the emotional issues and questions it tackled.
    I in no way mean to smear Seven Pounds by implying it is on par with Love Happens. It certainly doesn’t deserve THAT. Seven Pound raised genuine ideas and did a somewhat honest and sincere job of trying to tackle them. Love Happens has NO time for such shenanigans.

  7. Locke Peterseim
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Good one, Trevor!
    Or, as Luke hauls Anakin’s dying body down to the shuttle, the Stormtroopers all line up and give him a Slow Clap.

  8. Livia
    Posted on September 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I really want to see this film Love Happens in the theatre, really bad. My friend wants to see this film, also. I haven’t seen it yet, can’t wait and I am looking forward to see it. I can’t believe how good The Time Traveler’s Wife was but we will see on this one, it might be better then those other movies I saw, no offense. I like Jennifer Aniston’s acting, she does awesome job in most of her films that I saw in the past and present.
    Of all the other reviews I read, I also like Redblog, it’s fun but when you comment you gotta have something to say about the film or etc and I usually do.
    I was waiting for this film Love Happens to get posted on Redblog and now it’s on. Great, I will look forward of seeing this movie in theatre or rent. Can’t wait to see Love Happens.

  9. millar74
    Posted on September 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

    How bout a slow clap when Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum emerge from the wreakage with cigars after taking down the big bad aliens in Independence Day. I mean their saunter deserves something.

  10. Brooke
    Posted on September 22, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Havent seen Love Happens yet but im sure i will see it when it comes out on dvd. Hopefully its better then the time travelers wife because it sucked pretty bad. I love rachel mcadams, she played her part great and she always sucks you into the movie.. but it dragged on and on and didnt get exciting until the last five minutes of the movie, and then you were able to guess exactly what was going to happen. Hopefully Love Happens is better. As for th clichés, it a love story its supposed to be sappy.

  11. Aly
    Posted on September 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Brooke, I understand where you’re coming from with Time Traveler’s Wife, but there’s no way THIS movie could be better in any way. At least TTW was cry-able. Maybe I am just fed up with Aniston’s acting, or lack of? I was really surprised Eckhart would do this, after being in Batman and all, because it seems too mediocre of a movie. My friend said it was alright, so maybe I will just redbox it…

  12. dsl router
    Posted on October 5, 2009 at 3:58 am

    I would like to see Love Happens. My friend gave me a good feedback of it. But I was not sure. After going through this post I definitely will.

  13. Heather
    Posted on October 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Locke, u r SO funny!!! I am rolling on the floor crying here, please review more!

  14. Livia
    Posted on October 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I will be seeing this when it comes on DVD & Blu-Ray to see it. It’s almost out of the theatres so it will be soon coming out on video and rent. I hope this comes to Redbox. Looks like a good movie.

  15. r4i
    Posted on November 13, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Love happens is so good movie of Aaron Eckhart.In this movie he can do any thing for love an go at any cost for that.We have show this kind of lovable movie with our girl friend.

  16. moviegoer123
    Posted on February 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I rented Love Happens on February 13, 2010, watched the film and I absolutely loved it. The film was so good on rent, my family decided to get it on DVD the next day which was February 14, 2010 and we’ll be watching it again with please.
    This film is rare but Love can happen in many ways. You can meet man stranger and he’ll be nice, ask you out on a date and few dates later or few months later…love happens. Love Happens is a great film that shares love and serenity.
    This film is lovable and its not disturbing at all even though some scenes can be disturbing, its not really a disturbing film at all.
    The guy you fall in love with and you fall in love on your sixth date…love happens right there and then. This is a great film, hands down.
    If my family didn’t like this film we wouldn’t have it on DVD of its 2nd DVD release week! This film is exquisite and by far one-of-the-best films I’ve seen since Dear John — no, no not The Time Traveler’s Wife!
    After this one…I’ll be waiting for my March film haul to come in theatres and we’ll see how I like those films…

  17. moviegoer123
    Posted on February 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Forgot something in the comment.
    It was ACTUALLY better than Time Traveler’s Wife! Yep, Time Traveler’s Wife — Love Happens has toppled Time Traveler’s Wife and I’m glad that it did because you know…Time Traveler’s Wife was weird and good.
    Remember…Love Happens!