It's hard to imagine anyone clamoring for Helen Hunt's directorial debut (outside of Helen Hunt, of course). As if to compensate for foisting this film on the public, Helen Hunt, the actress, works ridiculously goddamned hard at playing an infertile woman named April Epner. April's husband leaves her the day before her adoptive mother dies, and to convey this pain, Hunt looks like a painfully thin woman who's not wearing any makeup in the glare of klieg lights. Her sorrow is as weightless as a cotton ball.
Hunt has surrounded herself with actors who are beloved for playing types, and they don't step outside their proscribed boundaries here. Matthew Broderick is a spineless man-child of an ex-husband. Bette Midler, her face so full of Botox that her eyes appear crossed, is April's long-lost birth mother, and she's the exact same fun-loving woman with a heartsick, serious side that Midler specialized in 20 years ago. Colin Firth plays a dream beau who begins seducing April within hours of her separation. He's the kind of movie creation who says "I love you" on the first date, and really means it. Most baffling of all, Salman Rushdie plays April's obstetrician with the kind of cardboard television-commercial delivery that only a serious nonactor can bring to a role.
Within a week of losing her husband and mother, April falls helplessly in love. The scenario is so artificial that watching the movie is almost physically uncomfortable. Her random, occasionally self-destructive actions don't seem to be the decisions of a woman laid low with grief; they're plot contrivances ineptly handled by a director who thinks she has something worthwhile to say, and is sadly mistaken.