Those who hoped that playing a ferocious face-painted cannibal in his last movie, ‘Cloud Atlas’, might have got Hugh Grant’s thespian juices flowing again are in for a disappointment with this half-hearted not-quite-romcom. He plays Keith Michaels, a failed Hollywood screenwriter who, in desperation, takes a job teaching at a remote American university. Michaels is a nasty piece of work – he preys on younger women, belittles older ones, drinks too much and generally alienates everyone around him – but whaddayaknow, it’s not long before the joys of education and the charms of simple small-town life have got their hooks into him.
Everyone here deserves better: Marisa Tomei could do vivacious single mom in her sleep, the mighty Alison Janney is reduced to playing a humourless feminist battleaxe – named, to no one’s amusement, Ms Weldon – and Grant looks as uncomfortable and out of place as his character. Still, writer-director Marc Lawrence was responsible for the equally dreadful ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’, also starring Grant, so the one-time heartthrob must have known what he was letting himself in for.