A widower for three years, Dr. Burke Ryan (Eckhart) has transformed his pain into a celebrity career as a self-help author, teaching people to cope with the loss of loved ones. Cue the imaginary movie-trailer announcer: “But the one person he can’t help...is himself.” That is, until his book tour hits Seattle and he literally bumps into Eloise (Aniston), a florist who likes to scribble three-dollar words like quidnunc on walls behind hotel paintings. She’s, like, so lovably movie-quirky! Welcome also the standard sidekicks (for him, it’s friend/agent Fogler; she’s got floral assistant Judy Greer, who inexplicably still does poetry slams way past the ’90s) and a painless conflict to resolve with Burke’s father-in-law Martin Sheen, who shares more chemistry with Eckhart than Aniston does.
It wouldn’t be worth getting one’s feathers ruffled if director Brandon Camp’s formulaic debut were simply heavy-handed and bland. But what’s inexcusable is that while Camp claims to have been inspired by his own family tragedy, there’s something truly crass and commercially calculated about how the film preys on the emotions of audiences with shared similar experiences. There isn’t a single moment of sincerity in the film’s fraudulent uplift. You know what else “happens” besides love? The word rhymes with spit.—Aaron Hillis
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