When Nikki and Roger are sitting at the kitchen table reminiscing about Nikki's late husband Garret, Nikki puts a vegetable spread on a cracker. She goes to take a bite of it, but in the next camera shot the cracker is gone, and a new one (without any spread on it) is suddenly in her hand. See more »
Thoughtlessly sentimental and vacuous, despite top talent...
Beautiful, grieving middle-aged widow, whose loving, devoted husband recently drowned, recalls blissful times together while gazing out over the ocean in her backyard...jump ahead five whole years, and she's still thinking about him. She tells her grown daughter that she doesn't like "looking back", and then immediately visits the museum where she and her husband spent a great deal of time hugging in front of the art. Screenwriters Arie Posin, who also directed, and Matthew McDuffie give our heroine (played with her usual pluck and vulnerability by Annette Bening) a plush job decorating houses for sale, a gorgeous home by the Pacific (designed by her late husband and filled with his art purchases), a healthy daughter to touch bases with, not to mention genteel, lovestruck widower Robin Williams as her neighbor! By the time Bening meets and begins dating a divorced art teacher who is a lookalike for her deceased husband (both played by Ed Harris), it all seems like too much. Because warm yet tentative Bening plays the central character, we are, presumably, supposed to feel for her widow automatically; however, not even this talented actress can breathe life into such stale scenes as a first kiss in a restaurant that causes her to panic and rush off to the ladies room. This is Harlequin Romance stuff, and what these wonderful actors saw in the tepid screenplay, loaded with uneasy conversations and clumsy exposition, is simply not clear. The sequence where the woman talks to her husband's double for the first time (in his classroom) and starts crying uncontrollably is an intriguing starting point for dramatic material, but McDuffie and Posin are too schematic. Their picture is a mechanical, infuriating valentine. *1/2 from ****
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