A physics professor approaching middle age decides to change his life with unexpected results. A rising young prosecuting attorney's plans are thrown into disarray as the result of a single careless act while distracted. A woman reluctantly faces her husband's infidelity. An envious insurance claims manager with family problems seeks revenge on a cheerful coworker, but has second thoughts. And an optimistic young cleaning woman awaits a miracle, only to have her faith shaken by a traumatic event. These ordinary people all find themselves asking the fundamental question philosophers have pondered throughout history: What is happiness, and how does one achieve it? Written by
The structure of this film is familiar as we see different stories with characters that in some sort of way are connected to one another. The structure is reminiscent of a John Sayles film but this is top notch writing and character development. Directed by Jill Sprecher who also wrote the script with her sister Karen and has a number of very good actors who help raise the level of the material. The film seems to be about characters who make decisions then have to live with the consequences of their actions. Matthew McConaughey is a lawyer who after winning a big case and celebrating hits a woman (Clea DuVall) with his car and leaves the scene of the crime. John Turturro is a teacher who decides to have an affair. Alan Arkin gives the strongest performance in the film, which is no surprise. He works in an insurance office and must let someone go and decides it will be a man who is always happy. This has always irritated Arkins character. He simply cannot understand how anyone could be happy all the time. Later, he feels guilty about his actions and tries to get him another job at another company. Sprecher does a good job of keeping the script simple without going over the top to satisfy a more shallow audience. This is a film that gets more interesting when viewed on more than one occasion. Definitely a film that can be discussed at great lengths considering the realistic and flawed nature of each character.
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