Time Out says
A smile, a tear, a smile… Ever since ‘Terms of Endearment’ and ‘Taxi’, James L Brooks has specialised in ‘quality’ comedy-drama – smartly written, superior sitcom stuff that aims to treat, in an adult, intelligent, sensitive way, serious issues. Here he touches on economic disparity, class divisions, social integration, parenting, marital conflict, communication skills, culinary fame and so forth, all in a characteristically well-meaning but inadequate way. My colleague Jessica Winter has rightly written elsewhere of Brooks’ regrettable tendency to portray his women as problematically volatile – Deborah, especially, is quite monstrous – but actually Sandler’s all-round nice guy is equally implausible in many respects. It’s less a matter of poor casting than of performers made to act up between the admittedly nifty one-liners; this is Hollywood liberal humanism as muted join-the-dots melodrama, all carefully calculated colouring, broad outlines, and no room for fruitful digression. Other examples of Brooks’ TV mindset: drab direction, gently probing but painless ethical inquiry, and a reassuring insistence that life and people (viewers included, naturally) are good.
Cast and crew