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'LOVE HAPPENS'

Jennifer Aniston has been looking for love in all the wrong places; coincidental comedies with ex-boyfriends (The Break-Up), surrounded by lovelorn women (He's Just Not That Into You), pursued by a stalker (Management), co-starring with cuter blonds (Marley & Me) and real life (Vince Vaughn, John Mayer, Bradley Cooper plus some other guy named Brad).

What Aniston needs is a chance to fall in love in a paint-by-numbers movie romance. The kind in which success in love is guaranteed from generic title to climactic cliche.

Something like Love Happens (PG-13).

Las Vegas bookies wouldn't lay odds against Aniston in this one. She plays Eloise Chandler, a florist sworn off romance after too many bad relationships. Eloise attends a speech by self-help guru Dr. Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart), who preaches the benefits of confronting pain. Burke doesn't take his own advice, still grieving the death of his wife.

Ooooh, I hope, I hope, I hope that Eloise and Burke can break through each other's defenses, realize their futures depend upon letting go of the past, and understand that love, like tiresome movie plots, can pop up anytime. Indeed, love happens. But so does something else noted on a bumper sticker in the 1980s.

Love Happens wasn't screened in time for Weekend. Look for a review at entertainment.tampabay.com and Friday's Etc, Page 2B.

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