I'll fess up, Altman ranks high with me and has for a long time. This is far from his best work -- but also far, far above your average bear, er, rather... average film. It has much to recommend; many fine performances, a complex storyline; it will request a little patience from you -- be so kind as to grant it. Patience lies at the heart of this film; not the high-jinks and rapid-fire action of most movies. Kindness gets lost, and many deeper human qualities, too -- when people or a culture push patience out of the way. Altman seems to know this, to celebrate patient people, sensible people. But there are plenty of good jokes, visual, verbal, plot-involved. Relax and laugh, let things develop. You might even laugh pretty hard -- and happily. I suppose this film could be called Capra-esque, and thus old-fashioned, even nostalgic -- not a good fit with the tumult of violence and dishonesty which characterized the media's portrayal of the nineties. Too bad. Rent the video; or buy the video and watch it with your kids and later with the grandkids. People complain about too much violence in the cinema and then ignore a film like this -- and many of these people are critics! Here's the full panoply of human life, young, middle-aged, and elderly, all interesting, all central to the story. What a fine thing!