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Gwen grows up with her romantic mother constantly telling her the story of her courtship and marriage to her father. Nick grows up with an alcoholic father who can't hold a job and whose family, as a result, is forced to move all the time. The two are shaped by this - Gwen a romantic and Nick withdrawn, unsure of himself - as they watch the hugely popular sixties sitcom, "One Big Happy Family." Years later, it is the star of that show, now a child actor gone bad with a history of detox and people always saying, "I thought she was dead," Francesca Lanfield, who connects the two of them, after years of near-misses and almost encounters. Gwen is hired to ghost-write Francesca's autobiography, while Nick, becoming her lover, is the architect who is to design a building on Francesca's property. When Gwen decides to crusade to save Francesca's building, she writes letters to the newspaper which catches Nick's attention - and wins his heart. Written by
Gary Dickerson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The people panning this movie - do they even LOOK at the assembly line, derivative, crap, crap, crap movies Hollywood puts out year after year? No one should pan this movie who has gone to any derivative movie in the last 20 years.
This movie stacks up just fine against many of the light romantic movies of, say, the Jean Arthur or Clark Gable or Spencer Tracy days, or even some of Kate Hepburn's. I tried to watch "Adam's Rib" last week and it was just PAINFUL dialog and stage acting. ["Let's all act like we are acting!"]
Most of the writing and acting in those black and white movies was every bit as cheesy as in this gentle film. And let's not even get into film noir and its cheesiness. Or vampire movies or coming of age movies, in particular.
No, Sarah Jessica Parker couldn't act her way out of a thin paper bag - then or now. Yes, Jean Tripplehorn was miscast and her pratfalls should have been edited out. Dylan McDermott I thought was cast well and performed well, and HIS character was quite sympathetic.
Also, on all three viewings, the movie did engage me enough in wanting the characters to find what they were looking for. Coming back to it 16 years late, this was just as true as my first viewing.
To me - don't laugh - the REAL star of the movie was the open courtyard of La Fortuna, the apartment building. I watch this movie mostly to see the courtyard again. It has a magical atmosphere. I even went looking to find out if it was a real place (it isn't). And the story really does revolve around the courtyard. It's a place I'd have loved to live.
And as it turns out, in watching this movie again (late 2013) I recognized that I actually found an entire TOWN with the atmosphere of La Fortuna, and I live there now. People mill about and come together in any corner, and smile to each other. When I first beheld my current town, I had the same reaction that Tripplehorn had when she stepped into it - and McDermott, too. So now I can be pleased with myself, for having found myself a magical town (officially, even!) to live in.
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