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Love Happens (2009) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 February 2010
ImageIt is my sad duty to report that "Love Happens" is another typical Hollywood romance film that is quickly forgotten.  In fact, this film appeared and disappeared in its initial release in no time flat.  I held the disc trying to remember when or if this film was ever theatrically released.  That should tell you all enough right there, but in case you need a bit more, here you go…

"Love Happens" is about a self-help guru, author guy named Dr. Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) and his love interest, Eloise (Jennifer Aniston).  Ryan is in Seattle, giving a seminar to help people grieve and move on from losing their loved ones.  Meanwhile, he meets the hotel florist, Eloise and immediately falls head over heels.

The problem with Ryan is that he lost his wife in a car accident three years earlier, which is what pushed him to write the book and ultimately become famous.  Seattle also happens to be the home of his deceased wife's parents.  This complicates matters because Ryan is holding back on the death of his wife.  Unfortunately, the story is not built in a way that makes us want to know that there is more to the death of his wife.  In fact, when the supposedly big reveal happens at the end, we sit thinking, "And why is that such a big deal?"

The story is simple: boy meets girl, girl has no motive, boy is struggling with personal issues, yada yada yada.  The film has a beginning, albeit a slow one and an ending.  Everything in between is drawn out and uneventful.  It is difficult to tell whether this is a romantic comedy or romantic drama.  I lean toward the latter seeing as how I never laughed during the film.

"Love Happens" has a strong transfer, but one that will no be liked by some avid movie watchers.  The colors are bold and rich.  They never falter.  All of the scenes in Eloise's flower shop are simply gorgeous.  The black levels provide nice depth to the image.  Shadow delineation is not as revealing as it should be and minor crushing does occur on occasion.  Edges are not as sharp as they could be either, but it nice not to have tremendous amounts of edge enhancement.  The source print has some occasional flickers and dirt, which is surprising given the recent age of the film.  Contrast is a bit too high causing a few saturation issues.  Details are mainly strong, but do fall to the soft level during some of the close ups.  Despite some minor annoyances, this is a better than average transfer for most romantic comedies.
The audio track is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio.  It is a typical audio track that will soon be forgotten, just like the film.  The rear channels are only engaged during a couple of sequences.  And even then the directionality and panning of the surround channels is spotty.  The dialogue is intelligible but lacks a solid frequency spectrum.  The dialogue sounds constrained.  The LFE channel appears twice during the film.  The track is never immersive, but is perfectly suitable for the genre of film.  I will disagree with the original sound design.  There are instances in which the sound designers created an atmosphere antithetical to the purpose of the scene.  Pay attention to the rooftop part of the seminar.

Once again, there are three bonus features on the disc.  There is an extremely dry audio commentary with director, co-writer and executive producer of the film.  I highly advise skipping this commentary.  The delivery is very bland.  There is a collection of deleted scenes, which were cut from the film for obvious reasons.  Lastly, "Giving Romance a New Look" examines the CG effects used in the film.

I would have to advise skipping this one.  There are better date movies out there.  However, if you are inclined, a rental might be called for.

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