There is a sentimental optimism in both Parker's films and Bo Goldman's scripts. So it's no surprise that together they made this Californian coming-to-terms-with-a-relationship movie. Finney plays a successful writer who first picks up a literary award, and then throws up his marriage (to Keaton), four believable daughters, and a large country house. It's a superior film of its kind, for much as one may kick against Finney and Keaton's much-exploited mannerisms (rage and winsomeness respectively), they, like the script, have impressive moments, balancing hilarity and tragedy. But even Parker's direction, with its unerring sense of pace, cannot disguise an awkwardly episodic narrative which just cannot find a sense of an ending.