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Serendipity is a romantic comedy about the magic power of love and the how fate will bring people together if they are truly meant to be. This is the first thing wrong with it.

Love movies are always problematic. Moviemakers feel that since everybody likes love, everybody wants to see their lame take on what they think everybody thinks love is over and over again. Well hereís what love is to me: my voice coming out of every talking baby doll in the country. Iím feverishly practicing my cooing and burping noises, and soon you wonít be able to watch Saturday morning cartoons without being subjected to my computerized voice demanding a change of diaper. Aside from the ethereal pleasure I will derive from my voice chirping forth for little girls all over the place to dote over, my plan is even more far reaching in scope. In fifteen to twenty years, there will be millions and millions of teenage girls, all experiencing an irresistible Pavlovian imperative to feed me, burp me, and otherwise mother me.

Thatís love to me, baby, and if you think thatís sick, I got news for you, none of us really want the Hollywood version of love. Itís just the McDonaldís version. You know what you really want is a big bloody lump of ground beef, smothered in bleu cheese and garnished with a tiny, flaming picture of Mother Theresa. But just like everybody else, convenience is what you care about the most, so youíll keep pounding down the same old homogenized mini burgers until you think thatís actually what you want and need.

Movies like Serendipity make it painfully clear just how ridiculous romantic comedies are. If it were actually funny, that would be one thing. But if the audience isnít laughing, theyíre realizing the utter despair that they live in, never to fulfill the sickeningly false fantasy of Hollywood romance. This is, of course, that if two people meet the general consensus of what is attractive, they will get together and presumably excrete more conventionally good-looking people. Personally, I would be happier is John Cusack never reproduces, but thatís probably just me.

The plot of the movie is totally implausible which I realize could be a message that love is all powerful or whatever. But that really doesnít matter when a movie is as tedious as this. Tedious dope Jonathan (John Cusack) and unpleasant Brit Sara (Kate Bekinsale) meet while shopping and fall in love moments later over coffee. Letís see, coffee and shoppingÖhey, as a comfortably bland middle class American, I can relate! Maybe I too could fall in love with someone very attractive.

Anyway, thereís some kind of an accident when they try to exchange phone numbers and Sara takes it as a sign that she should send Jonathan on some kind of a used book hunt or something to find true love. Anyway, it makes no sense at all, and in real life, someone who tries to pull something like that had better be really good looking. So the movie follows all these coincidences that show us that they are fated to be together. My advice to the characters would be instead of making games designed to keep them from procreating, they should latch on to anyone who can stand them like a barnacle.

Finally, I find it very annoying when love movies star characters I hate. I realize this is kind of a shallow criticism, but I find that it really rings true. If Iím supposed to spend two hours hoping that two people end up having sex, I should at least not be nauseated at that possibility.

_______________ Lester Smiley wants you dead. He can be reached at