Roos' follow-up to his sassy, sardonic The Opposite of Sex substitutes a heartfelt sentiment for casual sarcasm. Paltrow is a vulnerable, widowed mother and Affleck a slick, womanising ad company exec. The twist is that, following a chance pre-Christmas meeting at a snowbound airport, Affleck gives Paltrow's husband his ticket and enjoys a 'lay-over' with Henstridge; but the plane crashes, making him indirectly responsible for her loss. A year later, he emerges from alcoholic rehab with a bad case of survivor's guilt and a need to make amends. Things get complicated when he and Paltrow, who doesn't know about the ticket switch, fall for one another. The air of contrivance inherent in this set-up is initially kept at bay by the sombre tone, the sincere performances, and Roos' instinct for finding the emotional heart of individual scenes. Luminous as ever, Paltrow quivers with emotion, her panicky fear of intimacy and concern for her children contrasting starkly with Affleck's ambiguous, guarded opportunism. But while it's easy to believe Affleck as the confident guy who closes every deal, he's too lightweight and likeable to pull off the more complex, contradictory aspects of his character's transition.
Cast and crew
Alex D Linz