Rumor Has It
"Rumor Has It" was greeted with so many bad reviews that I saw it with very low expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised by how good it actually is. Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston), older daughter of an old-money Pasadena family who's now working for the New York Times, even if only writing obits and wedding notices, comes back home with her fiance Jeff Daly (Mark Ruffalo) for her younger sister's wedding. But she hears a rumor that grandmother Katharine Richelieu (Shirley MacLaine) was in fact the model for Mrs. Robinson in the book and movie "The Graduate," and that Sarah's mother (now fortunately - for the movie's plot - dead, so she can't explain it) ran away with the real-life model for "The Graduate's" Benjamin Braddock for a few days just before her wedding - the real-life model being Beau Burroughs, played by Kevin Costner: and spent a wild three days with him in Cabo San Lucas before going home to be married. Why all of this should be of interest is that the author of "The Graduate" actually grew up in Pasadena and, rumor has it, told his story from the actual facts.
Then foolish Jeff does the math and finds out that Sarah was actually born a few weeks short of the nine-month anniversary of her parents' wedding. So who is her real father? Is it nice, slow, Republican Earl Huttinger (Richard Jenkins) or is it fast, hunky Beau Burroughs? Since Beau has already slept with Sarah's mother and grandmother, is incest in the cards for her?
So that's the setup, and director Rob Reiner does an unobtrusive job of guiding a group of very fine film actors through their paces. Shirley MacLaine as grandma ("Don't you ever call me that!" she tells Sarah) is witty, tough and adorable all at the same time. Aniston holds her end up very well, showing that sometimes you can make the transition from television to film without crapping all over yourself. And Costner, playing a more attractive version of his role in "The Upside of Anger," is the perfect older seducer, apparently successful with women of any age.
There's actually a bit more to the film than this; we follow Sarah as she lets Jeff go home while she tracks down Beau to find out what actually happened; her sister Annie (Mena Suvari) is panicked at the idea that she is to be married; and Katharine and Beau get to meet once again. Go as I did to this film, with low expectations, and you will have a quite good time. That should be enough.