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First-time writer-director Helen Hunt stars as April Epner, a schoolteacher desperate to have a child before she turns 40 (Hunt herself turns 45 this year, but never mind that). Adapted by Hunt and two other writers from Elinor Lipman's novel, it's a not surprisingly confident debut; Hunt directs like she acts — straightforward and without humor, even when she's meant to be funny. Which is probably why this plays like such an odd hybrid: a sitcom pilot rendered as Lifetime melodrama and starring the likes of Matthew Broderick (as her husband and, no kidding, an irresistible man-child), Colin Firth (as the single-dad love interest), and Bette Midler (as the famous mother who gave Hunt's character up for adoption when she was a year old). Broderick is broad, doughy, and dopey — not at all believable as The Guy Everyone Wants to Fuck. But Firth is terrific, and Midler is, well, Midler — you keep expecting her to break into song. Even if you didn't know who directed going in, you'd know coming out; Hunt gives herself more closeups than Norma Desmond (and Barbra Streisand — no small feat). In short, it's the kind of film that only a mother, which is to say my mother, would love.


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