Burke (Aaron Eckhart), a psychologist whose wife died in a car crash, wrote a self-help manual to get through it; three years on, he’s a bereavement guru, back in Seattle to lead a pack of heartsore conventioneers back to health via group therapy and, er, walking on hot coals. Nobody in the film finds the latter weird, not even Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), a cute florist who is increasingly interested in Burke despite his almost total inability to interact. Aniston is endearingly natural, but she and Eckhart lack chemistry and anyway, the filmmakers are far more interested in the mourners than the would-be lovers. Even Burke’s pushy but genuine agent, Lane (Dan Fogler), gets more face time than our Jen, and the waste of Martin Sheen, as Burke’s father-in-law, is at least as cruel as any of the twists that deprived these folk of their relatives.
The script feels as if a bad writer had sat on a better one: ‘Men are… hairy,’ Eloise’s friend says knowingly, shortly before we all plod off for redemption at Home Depot. The sorrowing widower is a great subject for film romance; but the point is to let the girl have a proper crack at cheering him up. And, as always with love, a GSOH would help.