‘Love Happens’ to be fleeting

Aaron Eckhart's character, Burke, sets his sights on city girl and florist, Eloise, played by Jennifer Aniston. (daemonsmovies.com)

Aaron Eckhart's character, Burke, sets his sights on city girl and florist, Eloise, played by Jennifer Aniston. (daemonsmovies.com)

Romantic comedies are either going to be classic movies that you’ll want to watch over and over again, so-so for it’s mildly entertaining actors and semi-decent story line, or just plain bad.

“Love Happens” is an example of one of those movies that would fall into the so-so category because of its over-exhausted love story and lack of chemistry between its leading actors, Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston.

Set in the city known for romantic comedies such as Sleepless in Seattle and 10 Things I Hate About You, “Love Happens” is about Burke Ryan, a widower who attempts to repair the loveless void in his heart by wooing the hip and confident flower aficionado, Eloise.

Struggling to make peace with death, Burke, played by Eckhart, writes a self-help book titled “A-Ok” during his process of learning to cope with and overcome the loss of his beloved wife. Ryan’s character fears having to consciously experience life after such an event, and deliberately wills himself to “die” in a sense, too.

Rather than acting to remedy these feelings, he accepts the fact that he continues to feel grief three years after his wife’s passing, and yet he chooses to be blind-sighted by the success of his book and it’s cult following.

Eloise, portrayed by Aniston, is a woman who takes life as it comes, stopping along the way to appreciate life’s little pleasures. One of her character’s unique facets is her love for things that are outside-of-the-box original, such as writing lesser known words in permanent marker behind paintings on the private property of one of the hotels that she provides flower arrangements for.

Eloise has a tendency to fall for guys who have “issues,” such as her most recent boyfriend-turned-ex, who lied to her face when she asked him about the lipstick stained wine glass she found lying around his studio.

It seems that by cosmic demand, her life has been occupied by artsy and offbeat types, such as her employee and friend, Marty, played by Judy Greer. Marty is an uber-feminist who writes and performs exaggerated, sexually themed spoken word.

Burke invariably has his sights set on Eloise, who is the proprietor of her own boutique-style flower shop. Not until he realizes that he has to stop lying to himself and the rest of the world about “coping with death” does Burke allow himself to feel love for Eloise and to learn to express his emotions freely again.

But, as their relationship blooms, Burke’s character encounters conflicts within his professional life with his personal assistant, Lane, played by Dan Fogler, and in his personal life with his father-in-law, played by Martin Sheen.

Long after the movie had ended, the romance between the characters Burke and Eloise had quickly eluded my memory. But, what really stuck with me was the ability of director Brandon Camp to highlight the realities and vulnerabilities of the people that the characters stood for.

Although the movie seemed like it would play-out like the archetypal romantic comedy that the trailer proposed it to be, it kind of did – but with a delightfully surprising take on the diversity of the human condition, and how people ultimately deal with hardship.

It is a part of human nature for people to feel varying degrees of emotion when faced with things that we don’t want to have to deal with, especially in light of someone’s passing.

All in all, the movie exceeded my preconceived expectations only because I didn’t anticipate much going into the film in the first place. I don’t feel like it was a waste of my money, but I wouldn’t have been bummed if I had to wait a few more weeks to watch it when it comes out on DVD, either.