A dot to dot of every imaginable genre cliché, Brandon Camp’s film aims to mine more meaningful depths than others of its ilk, but ends up falling flat. That’s partly due to the lack of any real chemistry between leads Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston, but a clunky narrative – full of contrived situations and leaps in logic – would most likely have dowsed any sparks.
Aptly named therapist Burke (Eckhart) makes a living teaching others how to deal with grief, but won’t admit he hasn’t got over the death of his wife. When he meets scatty florist Eloise (Aniston) there is an instant attraction, but Burke’s unwillingness to confront his past threatens his future happiness.
Having demonstrated such psychological intensity as Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, it’s disappointing to see Eckhart playing such a one-dimensional character. Although supposedly full of repressed emotions, Burke is drawn in broad, superficial strokes and so it’s impossible to invest in him. Aniston is peppy as ever but, frustratingly, keeps choosing these same cookie cutter roles; roles that she may now be too old to play convincingly. She is an actress who has demonstrated great comedic and dramatic range, and it would be a shame to see her squander her talents on such uninspiring films as this.
Admittedly there are two excellent performances to be found amidst the dross, from John Carroll Lynch as one of Burke’s most desperate patients and the sublime Martin Sheen as his grieving father-in-law, but overall Love Happens is limp, ham-fisted and maddeningly obvious. 1 star
A fairly interesting commentary with director Brandon Camp and producer Scott Stuber joins a handful of deleted scenes. 2 stars
Stars Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart
Director Brandon Camp
Distributor E1 Entertainment
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released February 8