Film Review: "Letters to Juliet"

(Summit Entertainment. 1 hour, 45 minutes. Rated PG for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking. Directed by Gary Winick.) Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), Gael García Bernal (Victor), Christopher Egan (Charlie), Vanessa Redgrave (Claire). Music by Andrea Guerra.
Aspiring author Sophie (Seyfried) and her workaholic fiancee Victor (Bernal) travel to Verona, Italy for a pre-honeymoon. While there, she meets the author (Redgrave) of a 50-year-old letter to Juliet Capulet, and embarks on a quest to find the author's lost love. A decent, if wholly predictable, romance.

I guess you could technically classify this film as a "romantic comedy," but given the state of the modern rom-com, that would be doing Letters a disservice. Here, the men are not complete idiots, the women are not shrill and marriage-obsessed and the comedic aspects never devolve into mugging and slapstick, which is all a welcome change. Neither does it resort to the manipulative schmaltz of some romances (Mr. Sparks, I'm looking at you). However, the "middle ground" approach doesn't lead to a very memorable film. The cast is solid, Italy is sufficiently picturesque and Seyfried is a very lovely girl, but that can't overshadow the hackneyed story and trite dialogue at play. Although he exchanges some spirited barbs with Seyfried, once Egan shows up, you can pretty well map out the rest of the movie. Not a bad effort, but nothing we haven't seen before.
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Jared Counts

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Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...