A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film's premise has a young woman sleeping with a man whom she believes might be her father. Though he insists this is physically impossible, she worries about it more than once. Characters drink and smoke repeatedly (stereotypical signs of decadence).
What's the story?
RUMOR HAS IT... follows the romantic travails of writer Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston). Feeling like she doesn't "fit," she thinks her family is the source for The Graduate, she seeks the man who slept with her mother and grandmother, imagining he might be her father. The occasion for her search is her sister Annie's (Mena Suvari) wedding, for which Sarah and her fiancé Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) fly from New York to Pasadena. Sarah finds the model for Benjamin Braddock, Beau Burroughs (Kevin Costner). Now an internet millionaire, he assures her that he can't be her dad (as he suffered "blunt testicular trauma" during a soccer game 39 years ago), and they promptly get drunk and sleep together. Proclaiming that he's enchanted by his single "pretty spectacular" night with Sarah – Beau pursues her to Pasadena.
Is it any good?
Rumor Has It... is awkward and unfunny. While Sarah's grandmother, the chain-smoking, haughty Katherine Richelieu (Shirley MacLaine), offers comic moments, the movie pretty much abandons her once Sarah finds the model for Benjamin Braddock. Never thinking just to ask her father, Earl (Richard Jenkins), about her dead mother's past, Sarah instead imagines her mom was happiest with this other man, as they spent a weekend in Mexico just before her marriage to Earl.
The film perks up briefly when Beau heads to Pasadena, where he encounters Katherine. Unimaginatively accompanied by Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Western theme, she stalks out to confront her erstwhile lover, and then, pfft. The film retreats from this sparky relationship, so full of raw resentment and regrets, to refocus on the terminally dull Sarah.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Sarah's consistently bad decisions concerning her fiancé, her family, and her one-night stand. Though she says she's "scared," how does her "search for herself" end up hurting other people? How would Sarah's entire situation be different if only she had talked with her father first?
- In theaters: December 25, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: May 9, 2006
- Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine
- Director: Rob Reiner
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material, sexual content, crude humor and a drug reference.