The older crowd gets a weak rom-com of their own
Jeff is pretty much the opposite of Christine (Michele Laroque), his downstairs neighbor who works in real estate. Heading to the altar with her ultra-yuppie fiance, she has plans for expansion, with an her eye on Jeff's place. But for some odd reason, he refuses to abandon his fantastic home. That adds fuel to the fire that burns between them, the kind of adorable hatred that only exists in romantic comedies and reveals itself through wars of words, which suspiciously feel like flirtation. It's not possible that beneath their shared loathing there might be love, could it? Nah...that's crazy talk.
In a twist that could only happen in the move-eze, Jeff learns from his daughter that his ex-wife is re-marrying, and in order to show her that he's doing fine without her, he needs a date to attend her wedding with. So... in steps Christine, who will help in exchange for him moving out. It's really just a ridiculous concept, and the way it plays out, and everything that follows (a storyline you've likely already figured out) asks you to suspend some serious disbelief. That doesn't always work, especially during the wedding, where the idea of...well...you can guess what happens, just doesn't work. The two characters, who we are told hate each other, can drop the hostility with the ease of flipping a light switch, which is asking just too much of the viewer. It's the eternal struggle of romantic comedies built around love/hate relationships, but here it feels more like love/minor annoyance.
The sad thing about this movie being so ho-hum and unbelievable plot-wise, is there's some serious talent going to waste. Modine is as likeable as he's ever been, and solid as a guy basically just coping, Gina Mantegna does a nice job as his daughter, who's emotionally pulled in a couple disparate directions by the adults in her life, and director Eddie O'Flaherty and his crew rise to the occasion, lending the film a look and feel that the material may not have deserved. But when you see a really funny guy like Richard Kind get almost nothing fun to do as Christine's boss, it's a disappointment that's symbolic of the overall film. It'd be interesting to see what O'Flaherty could do with a stronger script.
For a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, this film is awfully limited in terms of the audio, as I couldn't hear much of anything coming from the sides and rear. All that's noticeable is the center-focused dialogue and incidental music, neither of which blew me way, even during a scene where music is supposedly just BLASTING, but it just kind of loud. The sound effects, on the other hand, are impressive, and really stand out.
The Bottom Line