By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated December 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

In Rumor Has It the rumor under consideration in this coarse, mirthless construction concerns Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston), a newspaper obit writer who, when not pondering her career options as a New York Times journalist, luxuriates in conniption fits of indecision about her engagement to a nice guy (Mark Ruffalo, projecting the remembered patience of every woman’s college roommate’s second boyfriend). Is it true, as she has only recently heard, that her family was the inspiration for the book and 1967 movie The Graduate? That Sarah’s dead mother was Elaine? That Granny (MacLaine) was Mrs. Robinson? And that Benjamin Braddock, so famously played by Dustin Hoffman, is in fact an entrepreneurial smooth operator called Beau Burroughs, played by Kevin Costner?

All too true per a screenplay by Ocean’s Eleven‘s T. M. Griffin, directed with a heavy mitt by Rob Reiner. No surprises will be harmed by reporting that in the course of her investigation, Sarah, too, is bedded by Beau, making for three generations of women boinked by one playa, with Costner mining the Upside of Anger vein of flattering self-mockery. By the time MacLaine stages her last stink-eyed reaction shot — overrunning an amiable, dazed Aniston at every turn — the idea of hiring Julian Noble to take out the entire clan and put an end to rumors sounds like a killer plan.

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