Film Reviews

Love Happens Review: Sap Kills More than Flowers

“The sap pollutes the water, and then they die,” florist Eloise (Jennifer Aniston) upbraids her employee on the importance of cauterizing stems. A similar befouling occurs in the directorial debut of Brandon Camp, who, with Mike Thompson, co-wrote Love Happens — which is not so much a romance as it is a male weepie.

Aaron Eckhart plays Burke, a widowed self-help author leading a seminar in Seattle for those mourning the loss of loved ones. The healer isn’t fully healed himself, of course, necessitating emotional helpmeet Eloise, who takes Burke to a poetry slam (only the presence of PDAs reminded me that the film was not set in 1992), the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee, and the woods of Washington to set a parrot free.

Burke’s hollow pop-psych speak, lightly ridiculed at first, is wholly embraced by the film’s end, if not as adamantly as the outrageous product placements for Qwest and Home Depot, the latter crucial to a seminar attendee’s recovery. Eckhart has even less chemistry with Aniston than he did with fellow narcissist Catherine Zeta-Jones in 2007’s No Reservations, going soft and gooey only when he and Martin Sheen, as Burke’s father-in-law, share a big cry.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.