Serendipity Review

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Complete strangers Jonathan and Sara meet while Christmas shopping and spend a lovely evening wondering if fate will bring them together again. Fast forward several years, and the pair have never stopped thinking about each other — even though both are on


Serendipity, aside from being “an aptitude for making fortunate discoveries accidentally” (according to Webster’s Dictionary, at least), is also the name of a famous café in Manhattan that was a regular hangout of one John F. Kennedy. And coincidentally — thus giving its title a cunning double meaning — it’s where Cusack and Beckinsale get to know each other over mountainous glasses of hot chocolate, as frothy as the romantic comedy in which they appear. Said double entendre, however, is about as deep as this film gets.

Still, Cusack, who seems to be cementing his reputation as one of the quirkiest romantic leads around, is as likeable as ever, playing hopelessly love-struck thirtysomething Jonathan who claims to be a documentary producer (only you hardly see him do any work).

Beckinsale is the English rose who creates a diversion from his Christmas shopping, takes him skating and then leads him on a merry dance through the lift shafts of the Waldorf Astoria before disappearing from his life, claiming fate will bring them together if it was meant to be.

And so it does when, some years later, Sara, now living on the West Coast, looks for one final weekend of freedom before tying the knot with her New Age musician boyfriend (Corbett). Off she goes to NYC with her one-day romance very much in mind.

There are plenty of small incidental pleasures here — including Piven as Cusack’s best mate and Levy as a tetchy sales assistant — and rom-com stereotypes are thankfully avoided in favour of believable, likeable characters and some picture-postcard shots of New York.

There’s nothing special or remarkable, but it’s amiable and entertaining enough to make you forget that it’s directed by the same man who brought the world Town And Country.

Like a glass of Serendipity’s famous hot chocolate, this tastes sweet, slips down very easily and leaves you feeling warm and satisfied. Chances are, however, you will have forgotten all about it by the next morning.