When Jonathan Trager (John Cusack) and Sara Thomas (Kate Beckinsale) both reach for the last pair of black cashmere gloves at Bloomingdale's during the Christmas rush, Jon is convinced this is the start of a wonderful introductory offer. Obviously smitten beyond the mitten herself, Sara agrees to a stop for a bite at the quaint Serendipity patisserie, followed by a romantic glide across the ice at scenic Wollman Rink.
Still floating above the sidewalk, Jon is ready to drop his life at Sara's door. Eager to grasp the tiny scrap of paper that Sara has scratched her name and number upon, an ill wind suddenly sweeps the note out of their hands. Convinced fate has intervened, Sara puts on the brakes and proposes that if it is the will of destiny to bring them together, it will happen again. Putting John's name and number on the back of a fiver (which she spends on candy), and inscribing her phone number into a copy of Gabriel Marquez's story of patient romance, Love In The Time Of Cholera (which she intends to sell at a book store the next morning), Sara slips out of Jon's sight.
Skipping ahead a few years, the next hour of the movie is akin to riding a New York subway -- you know exactly where things are headed and what the destination will be -- it's just a matter of seeing who will get on and off the train. As a result, when we find the fateful couple living on opposite coasts preparing to tie the knot with separate love interests, we already know these unfortunate second fiddles won't be sending out Thank-you cards.
A short unnecessary sexual scene between two secondary characters, some mild spoken innuendo, and a smattering of profanities push Serendipity just out of reach of our recommended grades. Yet the many cute misunderstandings and witty moments (the best example being Eugene Levy playing a strong-willed suit salesman) turn this paint-by-number plot into a pleasant distraction for female teens and anyone else craving coincidental courtships.