Rumors had it that this romantic comedy might actually be a witty and heartwarming romp, but guess what, folks? Turns out that any positive tittle-tattle associated with this sitcom episode writ large is totally unsubstantiated. It's not the movie's overall lack of inspiration that makes this story of a neurotic woman (Aniston) who discovers her family history was the basis for The Graduate so galling. That honor goes to this limp bedroom farce's notion that slapping together stars doing their usual shtick— Aniston's pert everywoman, Kevin Costner's middle-aged Midwestern hunk, Shirley MacLaine's foul-mouthed crusty broad—and putting the whole thing on autopilot somehow makes up for the complete dearth of comic spark. Never mind Joe DiMaggio—where have you gone, Mike Nichols, or even Blake Edwards?
Cursed during its early production phase with unhappy executives, a near-mutinous cast and the ousting of original director Ted Griffin, Rumor Has It... was supposed to have turned its luck around once Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally...) came on board. But the veteran rom-edy filmmaker adds little to the mix, and his insistence on liberally quoting lines and shots from the 1967 classic that fuels the premise doesn't help this retread one bit. Even MacLaine's bitchy "bons mots" (sample: "I'm freezing my balls off out here!") arrive DOA, and the last act's inevitable slide into mushy pathos just hammers this desperate crowd-pleaser's coffin lid shut.—David Fear
(Now playing; see Now playing for venues.)