Serendipity (2001) is a romantic comedy about two young people who meet by chance and decide to let fate decide if they should be together. The movie then picks up a few years later, when both characters are about to get married to other people, and fate starts to try to put them together. Overall, it’s a cute movie. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale have chemistry so their romance works in the movie and gets you to root for them. There is really just one problem, I don’t hate the soon-to-be ex-fiancées enough.
In every romantic comedy where the conflict is one of the characters being with “the wrong person”, the movie will go to great lengths to make them look terrible. It’s part of the charm of the genre. The cartoonishly terrible boyfriend/girlfriend is a fun trope. The guy is usually workaholic or misogynistic and the girl is usually controlling or super jealous, usually all played for laughs to show how better off they’d be with the main character.
But, I don’t think this movie does enough in that regard. Sure, Kate Beckinsale’s fiancé is a selfish ass who ignores her, he’s easy to hate and root against. However, John Cusack’s fiancé has done absolutely nothing wrong. They did absolutely nothing to vilify her. The movie even goes out of its way to show how nice and caring she is. So, in the end, when her wedding gets cancelled the morning of so that John Cusack and get with Kate Beckinsale, it doesn’t feel good as an audience member. It feels weird to have been rooting for that ending because she didn’t deserve that.
Although it’s often really silly, I much prefer a movie to beat the audience of their head with how terrible the “asshole boyfriend” or “crazy girlfriend” is. It’s a romantic comedy, no one expects realize. Get real silly with it.