[MOVIE REVIEW]True love is the perfect parfait

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[MOVIE REVIEW]True love is the perfect parfait

How can you be sure if somebody you just met is Mr. or Ms. Right? This is the question asked by "Serendipity," now showing in local theaters. Unfortunately, the answers it offers are believable only to those completely out of their minds with love.

Christmas Eve seems like a perfect time for love. Bustling, overcrowded department stores, however, are less than perfect. But that is when and where the American Jonathan (John Cusack) and the British Sara (Kate Beckinsale) meet. Their first encounter is a fight over the last pair of black cashmere gloves. But that tempestuous introduction quickly gives way to an unexpected love.

Their love at second sight leads them to spend the day together. They have a wonderful time, wandering busy streets and having a perfect parfait at a dessert shop, aptly named Serendipity. But life is not always on your side, and both happen to be engaged to somebody else.

Neither wants to let their fortuitous meeting become some tawdry one-day stand, so they hit upon a novel solution. If they really are meant for each other, if they are each other's true destiny, then best to leave their future to the hands of fate. Sara writes her phone number in a novel and then sells the book to a secondhand bookstore. Jonathan writes his number on a $5 bill, then uses it to buy a newspaper.

From there on, the film starts to play with coincidences, as Jonathan's and Sara's lives unfold, almost but never quite meeting over the next few years, all in the name of serendipity.

But on the verge of his wedding, Jonathan decides to give serendipity a nudge, and tries to meet Sara again. Sara, also close to tying the knot, suddenly flies to New York City.

Cusack, who built his acting career on strong performances in offbeat films like "Being John Malkovich" (1999), comes across more like a lightweight Tom Hanks here.

Still, there are commendable aspects to the film. Unlike typical romance films, whose agenda is typically a pretty actor and actress, "Serendipity" puts much effort into the cinematography. And the original sound track is above-average in its selection of fun and sweet love songs.

The premise of a love that is meant to be is intriguing, but after watching an endless array of coincidences and flukes, it becomes just frustrating and even annoying.

by Chun Su-jin

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