LOVE HAPPENS(12A, 109 mins) 5/10
LOVE comes knocking when a widower least expects it in Brandon Camp’s poignant drama, co-written by Mike Thompson.
Thematically muddled, but with its heart in the right place, Love Happens struggles for the entire 109 minutes to gel the central character’s inner conflict with the romantic comedy conventions that dictate his new relationship.
It’s a peculiar confection, glazed with schmaltz and cliches, and structured as chapters from the self-help book that propels the characters on their journeys of self-discovery.
No-one is more painfully earnest than Aaron Eckhart as the film’s grief-stricken protagonist, who delivers a moving performance as a man ripped apart by guilt.
Opposite him, Jennifer Aniston is pure decoration. Her poorly-written role is a dramatic contrivance to coax the widower out of his shell and remind him that, in a world of darkness and misery, everyone deserves a second chance at happiness.
Burke Ryan (Eckhart) is still haunted by memories of the day his wife died in a car accident, with him in the passenger seat.
Consumed by grief, he channels all that anguish into penning a self-help tome, with no thought that the book might one day be published.
When the manuscript becomes a nationwide best-seller called A-Okay!, Burke is transformed into a poster boy for anyone who has ever loved and lost, and he embarks on a book tour with ambitious agent Lane (Dan Fogler) at his side.
If the script was sharper and the tone measured, we’d give ourselves permission to enjoy Love Happens too.