Rumour Has It... (2005)

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Released 4-May-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 92:40 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Rob Reiner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jennifer Aniston
Kevin Costner
Shirley MacLaine
Mark Ruffalo
Richard Jenkins
Christopher McDonald
Steve Sandvoss
Mena Suvari
Mike Vogel
Rob Lanza
Lisa Vachon
Trevor Stock
Jennifer Bini Taylor
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Joe Lervold
Nellie McKay
Marc Shaiman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   Rumour Has it ... is a film with an interesting premise. What would happen if you found out that your family was the inspiration for the book and the film of The Graduate? What if your grandmother was the infamous Mrs Robinson?

    Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston) is a woman out of sync with her world. A frustrated journalist (she writes obituaries), she is struggling with her identity. She has a loving father (Six Feet Under deceased patriarch Richard Jenkins) and a sister Annie (Mena Suvari) but is struck by how little she has in common with them. Her perfect boyfriend Jeff (Mark Ruffalo) has proposed to her but she cannot muster any real excitement for their future together.

    At the wedding of her sister she learns that her family history is not as straight forward as she believed when her grandmother Katharine Richelieu, played by Shirley MacLaine, lets slip that Sarah's mother ran away to Mexico for a week before her own wedding (fans of The Graduate will notice the huge plot change). After some amateur detective work Sarah comes to the conclusion that her grandmother is the Mrs Robinson and she just might be the daughter of her mother's fling! The film is then a search for her identity and the meaning of her life.

    If this all sounds a bit heavy, rest assured that Rumour Has It ... is largely a comedy. As usual, Shirley MacLaine steals the show with her brittle and acerbic performance as the real Mrs Robinson. Kevin Costner chimes in with a typically charming and laidback performance as the original Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. He is searching for his own peace, having found a great deal of business success but forever regretting "the one that got away". Ruffalo and Suvari are not given a lot to work with but still manage to carry their roles with style and aplomb.

    Perhaps the weakest aspect of the film is the script and the central conceit that lies behind it. It was written by Ted Griffin who had previously penned Oceans Eleven and Matchstick Men. This was to be his first directorial effort but two weeks into production he was replaced by experienced comedy director Rob Reiner for reasons that are unknown. The effect is that the script and the direction rarely match. It is neither really a comedy nor a deep drama.

    I suspect that part of the problem was the overall concept. The background of The Graduate is good for a few laughs but it is hardly essential to the plot. The real issue in the film is whether Sarah is different from her father and sister because she has a different father and the background of The Graduate, which was probably a selling point for the film to get funding, is lost in the mix. It is a pity because there is a fertile ground of ideas that could have drawn the original film into the new movie but these ideas never surface.

    Apparently (I am trying to avoid saying rumour has it!) the original Mrs Robinson, Anne Bancroft, and Dustin Hoffman were approached to reprise their roles however her untimely death put paid to that idea.

    It is also a problem working out who exactly is the target audience for the movie. Having Jennifer Aniston in your film is one way to draw an audience who were probably too young to have seen The Graduate and may wonder what the fuss was all about.

    Part of the problem may also have been the marital breakdown that Aniston was experiencing at the time of filming which apparently made this one of her least favourite projects. Her acting is technically competent but there is something missing from her performance such that it often fails to engage. She just doesn't look like she wants to be there. The film was not a box-office success at home or abroad..

    Much as I hate to use the phrase "chick flick" I have found that most of the women I have spoken to in the over 30's (really over 40!) age group have warmed much more to the film than the males. Perhaps it is due to the thematic content of a women's search for love and identity. Either way, it is not a bad film but this DVD may find the greatest appeal to those who have already seen and liked the film at the cinema or are fans of Jennifer Aniston.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Rumour Has It was shot on 35 mm film at an original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is brought to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    I must confess to being slightly disappointed at the image quality of this recent release. There are no technical defects such as film artefacts and it plays at a constant bitrate of roughly 6.00 Mbps. It is just that the image is a little dull and in place of vibrancy and life we get somewhat muted colours.

    There is not a great deal of grain in the picture and otherwise it is satisfactory, however, it is simply not what I would have expected for a recent release comedy. Skin colours are a little brown and motley but maybe that's just Aniston's tan!

    There are English subtitles as well as English subtitles for the hearing impaired. Both are clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Rumour Has It... is rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s) sound. The movie is primarily reliant upon dialogue and therefore both the surround and the sub-woofer are rarely used. Audio sync was not an issue. Overall the mix is adequate without being stunning. Music is not dominant throughout but the film really did lift when a Simon and Garfunkel song came on bringing back memories of the profound effect their songs had in The Graduate .

    Dialogue is always clear and easy to hear.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This DVD is devoid of extras except for the theatrical trailer which emphasises the humorous side of the film.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Rumour Has It ... has the distinction of being the first Region 1 DVD released in a hybrid form, in that the set includes a standard definition version and an HD-DVD version. Real enthusiasts of the movie may wish to wait for HD-DVD to become a reality in Australia but at present the Region 4 version is the best for local audiences. It is worth pointing out that there are no extras on the Region 1 version either.

    A cynical person may think that the commercial failure of the movie at the cinema together with reluctance on the part of the writer, the director and the star to talk about it, has limited the number of extras.

Summary

    Rumour Has It ... is presented in Australia and around the world in a bare bones DVD edition. The movie has its enthusiasts and there are certain joys in the performances, particularly that of Shirley MacLaine. It is not a bad movie but one that, given the array of talent on board, could have been much better.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

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