Dr. Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) is a self-help guru. His best-selling book, A-Okay, about grieving the loss of a loved one, has birthed seminars across the country. And thanks to his wheeler-dealer manager Lane (Dan Fogler), he's on the cusp of signing a deal for a book series, a syndicated TV show, and a line of merchandise that includes exercise equipment and weight-loss supplements ("making loss a good thing").

Too bad Burke is so emotionally shut down he can't enjoy any of his success.

His life is a series of well-ordered routines, neutral hotel rooms, and surprising contradictions. His book warns against the crutch of alcohol and encourages practicing happiness with five minutes of daily smiling. Yet we see the good doctor hitting the mini-bar and sitting in a stone-faced stupor in his lonely hotel room.

Likewise, there's a staggering disparity between the forlorn look on his face in the hallway just moments before his opening talk at the A-Okay Seattle seminar and the brilliant smile he flashes to this roomful of grieving groupies. It's not that Burke is insincere; he truly wants to help these people. It's just that it's easier to help them deal with their grief than to dig deep and finally confront his own unresolved pain over his wife's sudden death in a car accident three years prior.

But a few encounters at this Seattle seminar start to shake things up.

Burke is moved by one of the conference attendees, Walter (John Carroll Lynch), a burly contractor who's just lost his 12-year-old son. Walter has a finely tuned crap-ometer, and doesn't buy all of Burke's fortune-cookie wisdom. Their conversations force both men to dig deeper into their own personal hurt.

After a session one day, Burke's estranged father-in-law (who lives ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Love Happens
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
(3 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for some language including sexual references)
Directed By
Brandon Camp
Run Time
1 hour 49 minutes
Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Dan Fogler
Theatre Release
September 18, 2009 by Universal Pictures
Browse All Movie Reviews By: