You can imagine that a smart director with a sharp script could have a lot of fun riffing on The Graduate and updating its themes and humor for a new generation. Unfortunately, such an idea seems completely beyond the ambition of Reiner and crew, who have instead assembled a rather standard chick-flick that doesn't seem to know anything at all about The Graduate in the first place. Costner's Burroughs character is depicted as a charming ladies' man seducing women with just a glance, which is about as far from the awkward Benjamin Braddock type as you can get. The movie opens (or nearly does) with Aniston flying home to see her family after an extended absence, but did it occur to anyone to duplicate the famous airport moving-sidewalk credits sequence from the Nichols' film? I guess not. There's a wedding reception party scene that plays vaguely like the graduation party in the old film, but the similarities are so thin you'd almost have to force the comparison. Reiner has brought in offbeat songstress Nellie McKay to provide songs for the soundtrack, but doesn't even attempt to use her in the same capacity that Nichols used Simon and Garfunkel, instead asking her to just write some syrupy romantic tunes that could have been the work of a dozen other singers cashing a paycheck.
Once upon a time, Rob Reiner directed the definitive romantic comedy, the very smart and very funny When Harry Met Sally. Sadly, those days are long past. Rumor Has Itů is a by-the-numbers formula rom-com without much to distinguish it. It has two or three very funny moments, lost in a movie that aims for sappy and predictable when it had the potential to be witty and hilarious.
The HD DVD:
HD DVD discs are only playable in a compatible HD DVD player. They will not function in a standard DVD player (except in cases like this where the disc specifically includes a secondary DVD version) or in a Blu-Ray player. Please note that the star rating scales for video and audio are relative to other High Definition disc content, not to traditional DVD.
Despite being contained on only a single HD DVD layer (all of the other HD DVD releases thus far have been dual-layered), this is a short movie with almost no bonus features and fits into the allotted space without any visible compression problems. The picture is sharp, colorful, and clean. Sadly, the movie has a very bland photographic style reminiscent of TV sit-coms, which prevents it from qualifying as demonstration material.
In comparison to the standard DVD version of the movie on the second side, the HD DVD version is decidedly sharper and more vibrant. I didn't have the plain DVD edition available for comparison, but would assume it looks the same as Side 2.
The Rumor Has Itů HD DVD is not flagged with an Image Constraint Token and will play in full High Definition quality over an HD DVD player's analog Component Video outputs.
The photo images used in this article were taken from the DVD edition for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to demonstrate HD DVD picture quality.
This is a very basic comedy mix that's almost entirely dialogue and music, with no surround activity or notable bass. It's fine for what it is, but that's really nothing to get excited about. The Nellie McKay songs on the soundtrack do sound great, however.
A French dub is also available in DD+ 5.1. Subtitle options include English, English captions for the hearing impaired, Spanish, or French.
The only bonus feature on this HD DVD title (a theatrical trailer) is recycled from the DVD edition and is presented in Standard Definition video with MPEG2 compression. Future releases may offer more advanced features. The interactive menus are accompanied by annoying clicking sound effects for every selection that can be turned off if you desire (and I recommend it).
The standard DVD side of the disc has the same trailer and nothing else.
No interactive features have been included.