Love Happens | EW.com

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Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston, ...

(Kimberly French)

STARRING Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart
WRITTEN BY Brandon Camp, Mike Thompson
DIRECTED BY Brandon Camp

Aaron Eckhart, who plays a widower-turned-Tony Robbins-style self-improvement expert, knows a thing or two about the genre. ”In this day and age, every actor has been down that self-help aisle once or twice,” says Eckhart. ”And thankfully so!” Reeling from the death of his wife, his character struggles in private to cope with his loss while traveling the circuit of grief seminars, peddling his best-selling platitudes of emotional recovery. On a stop in Seattle, he bumps into Jennifer Aniston’s single thirtysomething florist. And apparently a long weekend with her can heal him better than any hardcover words of wisdom.

Aniston took a hefty pay cut to star in the $ 18 million production. Eckhart had never met the tabloid fixture before, and was prepared to find her beautiful and charming. ”What did surprise me was how balanced she was,” he says. ”I don’t know why that surprised me — I guess just because the girl has been through so much.” Judy Greer, who has made a career out of playing the best buddies of America’s sweethearts in movies from The Wedding Planner to 27 Dresses, was psyched to play Aniston’s co-worker at the floral shop. ”All the roles that she’s played — I’ve always wanted to be her best friend,” she says. ”And the second I met her, she grabbed me and hugged me so tight.”

Now Universal has to hope that audiences will embrace a movie about grown-ups stumbling toward love. ”The trick here is we have a romantic, character-driven movie about real people,” says producer Scott Stuber. ”It’s not high-concept.” Take a moment to mourn the days when that wasn’t such a hard sell.