Critics slam Aniston's latest, the Christmas release Rumor Has It

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 19, 2005 08:00 AM

Jennifer Aniston, whose last movie Derailed was derailed by critics and largely ignored by audiences, could use big-screen hit. But according to trade industry reviews, her new one, Rumor Has It …, opening Christmas Day, has bleak box-office prospects.

“A Wreck” reads the headline above the review in the Hollywood Reporter. Variety opens its critique by labeling the comedy-drama “as muddled in most respects as its title.” Both papers predict poor ticket sales.

In the movie, directed by Rob Reiner (When Harry Met Sally) and based loosely on the events that occurred in the 1962 Charles Webb novel and 1967 Michael Nichols movie The Graduate, Aniston plays an obituary writer for The New York Times who goes home to Southern California for her sister’s wedding – and discovers for the first time that her granny, played by Shirley MacLaine, may have been the inspiration for the notorious “older woman” Mrs. Robinson, who seduced Benjamin Braddock, the then-recent college grad.

This time, he may be Beau Burroughs – played by Kevin Costner, who may be the Aniston character’s father but instead becomes her lover in a relationship that Variety finds unsettling.

The Reporter finds Aniston’s character “undeveloped” and her comic instincts under-utilized, while Variety lauds her wardrobe but not the whining and mugging that the script has her doing. Only MacLaine as an outspoken boozer comes in for any praise – though both papers also found the technical aspects of the movie to be superb.

Still, in its summation, Variety concludes: “The Rumor should pass quickly.”