Jennifer Aniston plays a woman confused. She's confused about her fiancé, her family, her origins, and herself. When she learns her late mother had an affair before she married her father, she sets out to find the mysterious man, in case he's her biological father. A parallel plot line is the correlation to Aniston's mother's affair; it mirrors the infamous love story of The Graduate, and the movie pretends the affair is the fictional inspiration behind that movie.
The preview of this movie will show you one-liners from Shirley MacLaine, pouty faces from Aniston, and a comedic plot. Rumor Has It is so much more than that. Yes, the script has some hilarious moments, and yes, Aniston is beautiful and pouty in most of the film, but at its core, the film deals with grief, confusion, and finding one's sense of self. I've seen this movie over twenty times, and it hasn't gotten old. The script is smart, the casting is a likable bunch, and the acting is wonderful.
Everyone's performance is superb. Jennifer Aniston's character, on paper, could be a snarky, problematic woman with a bad attitude. She softens the lines and adds humanity to the role. Kevin Costner also softens his role with his unique charm, a role that could be seen as an over-the-hill lech, but with his touch is a sympathetic, grieving man. Mark Ruffalo, always a chameleon in his roles, shows audiences his smart, classy side by playing Aniston's lawyer fiancé. Even though we're used to seeing him with a little layer of "street", he's totally believable in his suit and tie. And let's not forget the overlooked performance of Richard Jenkins, who plays Aniston's father. Every parent will find a kindred spirit in his portrayal, and he also softens the lines that could be interpreted as gruff or insensitive in an initial read-through. I always say when one actor is great, it's the actor. When everyone's great, it's the director. Hats off to Rob Reiner for a job well done.