Love Happens

The biggest “name brand” in this movie is Jennifer Aniston (“Marley and Me” and “He’s Just Not That Into You”), but she has very little to do in this tepid Chick Flick, other than occasionally show us a little blue-eyed charm.

Aaron Eckhart (“The Dark Knight” and “Thank You For Smoking”) actually has the central role: he plays a widower who facilitates seminars in which he teaches others how to cope with loss. These seminars are based on his best-selling self-help book, “A-Okay.” Of course, as the movie progresses, we begin to think, “Physician, heal thyself!”

Martin Sheen (The Departed” and “Talk to Me”) appears briefly in a few scenes, two of which are key moments. Of course, he overacts as usual… chewing on the scenery with gusto.

Our favorite BFF (Best Forever Friend) from countless Chick Flicks is Judy Greer (LOTS of TV, plus “27 Dresses” and “American Dreamz”) not on screen here as much as I would like, but dependable when she is.

Character actor John Carroll Lynch (“Gran Torino” and “Zodiac”) has been a familiar face since 1993 but he has never been given an opportunity to show his stuff before. He has a couple of extended scenes, no editing, no cutting, just continuous takes where he knocks them out of the park. He plays a bereaved father stuck in his grief over the death of his twelve-year-old son, attending the grief seminar at his sister’s insistence.

Because the central theme is coping with loss, there are many emotional moments, directed with great skill by Brandon Camp. I hope to see more of his work.

Of course, to the Seattle screening crowd, the generous number of Seattle street scenes, points of interest and cityscapes were a treat, plus we smiled at the incessant rain and some of the more egregiously faked Seattle-scapes. Don’t let me mislead you, this movie has plenty of humor and we even learn three new words!

No blowie uppie stuff, no car chases, no gunshots; just some nice people to root for…I liked it…sorta.