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Scott Michael Campbell
Fans of Burns' work will enjoy it, even though its not his most sharply-worded work
Patti (Selma Blair) and her best friend, Kate (Debra Messing) are meeting for dinner at a Manhattan restaurant. Patti is an aspiring writer who has detoured into selling real estate, to pay the bills, and is married to a smug chef while Kate, a lovely schoolteacher, is still single. Lo and behold, the two women are amazed to see a pair of their ex-flames having dinner at a table not far away. Brian (Patrick Wilson), who was once very much in love with Patti, is now a very successful detective novelist who yearns to break free from the genre. Michael, Kate's past boyfriend, is, at present, a lucrative lawyer, since he sobered up and got serious. Naturally, the chance meeting is a heart stirrer. Patti's marriage is on the rocks and her still-strong attraction to Brian is real. Opposingly, Kate wants nothing to do with Michael, given his past infidelity, but it soon becomes apparent that the lawyer is ready to court her again. Will there be a second chance at love for either of these couples? First, let me state that I am a huge fan of Burns, who is first rate as a writer/director. His past work, including Brothers McMullen, She's the One, No Looking Back and, especially, the hard-hitting Sidewalks of New York, are exemplary examples of independent successes. However, this one is not quite on their level, which doesn't mean it is not worthwhile. It is. To begin, the four principal actors, Blair, Wilson, Messing, and Burns himself, are all attractive, capable thespians. They are a pleasure to watch. The supporting cast, which is includes the razor-tongued Dennis Farina, is also fine. The Manhattan setting, Burn's obvious home turf favorite, is nicely shown while the costumes, photography, and Burns' skilled direction are pluses, too. Most of all, the script, which is uneven, has some good messages about creativity and commercial success, which sometimes do not go hand in hand. Some of the film's best moments come from Wilson, at his book signings, who shows exasperation at some of his one-dimensional fans. No, its not "Misery" but the philosophy presented is the same. In short, if you like romantic comedy and Burns' smooth style, grab this one off the shelf, too.
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