Who’s In It: Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson
The Basics: A middle-aged British woman, single for seemingly no good reason, meets a somewhat older American man who’s single for a whole bunch of really good reasons, such as being a failure as a father and a husband and for getting fired from his longtime career as a commercial background music composer. (His boss even says, in the first three minutes of the movie, “There are no more chances, Harvey,” making sure you know the title is totally true right from the get-go.) In other words, he’s a great catch for a desperate woman in her late 40s, AM I RIGHT, LADIES?
What’s The Deal: The only reason to bother with this lukewarm bowl of romance soup—and I was about to call it a Lifetime or Oxygen movie but I saw Tori Spelling in Mother May I Sleep With Danger? on one of those networks and had a really good time so I can’t bag on them—is its stars. I wonder what got them on board for this? Did the original script have like 30 more pages of complicated character study stuff that would have transformed it into a Mike Leigh film? Do they have gambling debts to pay? New roofs to have installed on the summer homes? I could spend the entire running time wondering about the possibilities. I’m sorry, I meant to say that I did spend the entire running time doing that.
Featuring Filler Like: A dress-shopping montage in which Emma Thompson is put into ridiculouser and ridiculouser frocks that no one in her right mind would wear to a wedding reception. (That’s what they spend a good chunk of the movie getting to, Hoffman’s estranged daughter’s wedding reception.) Then there’s a go-nowhere subplot about Thompson’s mum fearing that her neighbor is a serial killer. Because it was important to waste the time of these appealing leads even more than the movie already does.
The Rachel Getting Married Moment Where You Realize That Hoffman's Character Really Is A Selfish Moron: He stands up at the daughter’s reception and delivers a heartfelt speech that isn’t as dysfuntionally self-serving as Anne Hathaways post-rehab ramblings for attention, but come awful close. You want to grab Emma Thompson and send her back into the arms of Alan Rickman in Love, Actually. At least all he did was cheat on her a little.
Way More Entertaining Emma Thompson Movie You Probably Didn’t See But Should: Nanny McPhee