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The Dartmouth
May 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth


Studio executive: "What do you got for me?"

Screenwriter: "OK, here it is: "The Graduate, Part II." The three principals are still with us, Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katherine Ross, 25 years later, and so are their characters: Ben, Elaine and Mrs. Robinson. Ben and Elaine are married still...and Mrs. Robinson lives with them. They have a daughter who herself just graduated from school, a Julia- Roberts-type."

Executive: "Is this going to be funny?"

No, this is not the pitch for the horrendously awful movie "Rumor Has It...," which thankful wrapped up its Nugget run Thursday night and was most certainly not funny. And "Rumor Has It..." is a Jennifer Aniston star vehicle (a Pinto to be exact), thus depriving us of Julia's mouthy charms. The above dialogue is actually from the opening scene of the Altman satire "The Player."

You know you've reached the bottom of the storymaking barrel when it appears that "Rumor..." has lifted its "Graduate, Part Deux" premise from the opening scene of a movie that suggests that the film industry is so rotten that executives hang around old-style theaters late at night to murder aspiring screenwriters. If only the same fate could have befallen Ted Griffin, who penned this bizarre and actually morally reprehensible incest-laden storyline that is "based on a true rumor."

"Rumor...," directed by the corpulent Rob Reiner, is hands down one of the best movies I have ever seen whose plot centers around stories about incest, jokes about incest and, most likely, some actual incest.

This says nothing about the quality of the movie; what it does say is that I have to get out more often. The cause of the "hilarity" in this "romantic" "comedy" centers around that age-old question: If there is the possibility that Kevin Costner is your illegitimate father, and you know that he's been with both your mother and grandmother, would you still do him? Very Greek, Ms. Aniston, very Greek indeed.

Before we get to jilted Jen, I must say that Kevin Costner is in his element here and he could teach college students a thing or two about how to get hot-bodied chicks like Jennifer Aniston in the sack.

First, if someone asks you about paternity, say that you are embarrassingly sterile from a sports injury. The girl will take you at your word, not ask for child support, and you may even get to sleep with her. (Patrick Ewing, you should be paying attention.) Second, the line that will seal the deal for a romantic night of possibly incestual passion is, while slow dancing, "Your mom was hot, and so are you." How profound, oh swashbuckler of "Waterworld."

Having already parlayed her but-her-face looks and her strange-looking schnoz into household name-dom with "Friends," Aniston is in the process of screwing it all up with a host of bad movies.

With this role, Jen sticks to bland romantic-comedy crapola, the kind of movies I typically avoid like herpes, and the kind of annoying shit that gets you dumped for more exciting, hotter vixens like Angelina Jolie. She has stretched from playing Jim Carrey's uninteresting-sidekick-love-interest in the goofy comedy "Bruce Almighty" to playing Ben Stiller's uninteresting sidekick love interest in the goofy comedy "Along Came Polly."

In "The Object of My Affection," Aniston plays a frazzled-yet-cheery urbanite looking for love in all the wrong places (namely her gay roommate Paul Rudd), while in "She's the One," Aniston plays an urbanite looking for love in all the wrong places (namely an Edward Burns movie where she is dumped for the hotter Cameron Diaz).

Her deviations from said pattern may be even worse: from her turn as an unconvincing femme fatal in "Derailed," to her equally unconvincing role as a mopey big box store employee with a cheap Texas accent in "The Good Girl."

Another bad movie, and she could be back to fending off Irish dwarfs in B horror movies ("The Leprechaun," her first role).

With "Rumor...," it appears she may have already failed at becoming a really big movie star with any staying power. (It could be worse though, she could be David Schwimmer, or she could be bleeding out her ass.)

It just doesn't make sense that she would pick such a weird script. She should have looked at Sarah Jessica Parker, her fellow TV-star-with-unflattering-facial-features who became way too famous thanks to an overrated sitcom based in New York. SJP starred in the second most inappropriately perverted romantic comedy of the holiday season, "The Family Stone," which mixed the tragedy of cancer with the hilarity of intra-family girlfriend swapping to disastrous effects. But back to incest.

Jen should have known better: people who screw family members on screen are punished, often with a grizzly death. Did she even remember what happens to Faye Dunaway in "Chinatown?" Has she seen how John Cusack ended up with shards of glass in the jugular in "The Grifters?" Did she care to take note when sweet, drug-addled Laura Palmer was murdered in "Twin Peaks?" Didn't she read "Oedipus Rex" in high school? Has she even bothered to research how Soon-Yi Previn is holding up?

Jen should have known what a risk she was taking getting involved in an incest movie. People who are involved with such unspeakable onscreen sins often are total sickos in real life. Perhaps the best-known example of the genre is the aforementioned "Chinatown," which was directed by trans-Atlantic child molester Roman Polanski.

And who could forget "Hotel New Hampshire," where a raped daughter, (Jodie Foster), screws around with her hunky brother, (Rob Lowe), who's no slouch himself when it comes to the I-like-little-girls department. And sexy-rexie Lara Flynn Boyle of "Twin Peaks" allowed herself to be shtupped by Jack Nicholson, who no doubt dabbled in the underage game on the set of "Chinatown."

As for "Rumor Has It...," the weirdo award has to go to Shirley MacLaine, who is surprisingly unannoying as the acid-tongued boozehound Grandma to Jen in the movie. Shirley, who among other things is the sister of Hollywood leftist and punani specialist Warren Beatty, is quite simply totally f*cking insane.

Her official website, where stars take great pains to protect their image, is a rare glimpse into the world of the mental. She posts, in the section "Pet Pages," this testimonial from her dog: "Hi. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Terry. Shirley is my human Mom. Mom said that humans love their animal friends as much, and sometimes more, than they love humanity."

She believes in astrology, numerology, clairvoyance through dreams, healing crystals and so-called sacred sites such as the Pleiades Constellation or Sedona. Shirley is most famous, however, for her belief in reincarnation (well, what would you do if you met your former self while on the 500-mile Santiago de Compostela Camino pilgrimage?).

I swear, these things cannot be made up. It's like the fact that Janet Jackson sticks peanut butter up her butt before performances to help her relax. It's so crazy they have to be true. Or, at least, they can be based on a true rumor.