It’s sappy. It’s predictable. It’s completely unrealistic, yet you can’t seem to change the channel. Much like The Notebook and Titanic, Serendipity has become a movie that turning off seems like the greatest sin one could commit. There’s not much character development, yet you still sit there naming friends who embody the twisted soul of Jonathan Trager (John Cusack), the optimistic and live-by-the-seat-of-her-pants Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) and the self-indulgent hippie Lars Hammond (John Corbett).

Jonathan and Sara meet one Christmas and leave everything to fate to bring them back together (cue nausea). So they write each other’s info on a $5 bill and the inside of Love in the time of Cholera. And shockingly, both Jonathan and Sara are engaged to other people when they start wondering about each other seven years later. Enter the great race across NYC to see if they can track each other down one last time.

There are multiple reasons I cannot ever seem to walk away from this film when it comes on TV, despite owning the DVD:

  1. Dean Kansky (Jeremy Piven) is the sidekick I’ve always wanted. He’s annoying, he’s whiny, he’s like a little puppy constantly jumping up and down for attention. And he’s loyal. His interactions with the Bloomingdale’s salesman (Eugene Levy) are hilarious. And he and Cusack prove they’re a movie duo you can’t help but cheer for.
  2. The Bloomingdale’s salesman. He was quite the hilarious barrier for Jonathan and Dean to conquer on their quest for Sara’s information. That nasal voice just incites laughter.
  3. The soundtrack. From David Gray to Nick Drake to John Mayer to Bap Kennedy, the sweet lulls make this film. As my roommate, an undying John Mayer fan, told me, this movie was one of the first featuring his “83” song. So there’s some knowledge for your next bar trivia.
  4. Lars Hammond (Corbett) would be Kenny G if Kenny G were trapped at Burning Man. The scene where Lars rationalizes his absurd music video is hilarious. It’s a role that Corbett shouldn’t cringe about when he looks back. Too bad the same can’t be said for his Sex and the City 2 cameo…

Serendipity is a fantastic film to watch when you’ve got a roaring fire, a steamy cup of cocoa, and your flannel pajamas on. It’s the typical rom-com but with some fantastic additions (see #1 and #3 above). It’s an unfortunate accident this film is decent despite all the cards against it — making it true serendipity.

Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.

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