"Serendipity" is, of course, an utterly preordained movie in terms of whether the pair will get together, but while contrived, it never feels calculated. Director Peter Chelsom ("Hear My Song") has a pleasingly light touch, and he orchestrates the coincidences and little moments when Jonathan and Sara nearly meet with style and panache. They're believable and suspenseful in equal measure.
Cusack and Beckinsale throw themselves into their roles, giving conviction to characters who would have been cardboard cutouts in another movie, and they're ably aided by a strong supporting cast, including Piven, who is a real-life chum of Cusack's, and Eugene Levy, who nearly steals the show as an anal store clerk.
Nicely showcasing the beauty of New York, "Serendipity" is a likeable movie that works far better than it should. It's a charming confection. Starring John Cusack, Kate Beckinsale and Jeremy Piven. Directed by Peter Chelsom. Written by Marc Klein. Produced by Simon Fields, Peter Abrams and Robert L. Levy. A Miramax release. Comedy/Drama. Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality, and for brief language. Running time: 86 min