Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Professor Lawrence Wetherhold might be imperiously brilliant, but when it comes to solving the conundrums of love and family, he's as downright flummoxed as the next guy. His teenage daughter is an acid-tongued overachiever who follows all too closely in dad's misery-loving footsteps, and his adopted, preposterously ne'er-do-well brother has perfected the art of freeloading. A widower who can't seem to find passion in anything anymore, not even the Victorian literature in which he's an expert, Lawrence seems to be sleepwalking through a very stunted middle age. When his brother shows up unexpectedly for an extended stay just as he accidentally encounters a former student, Janet, the circumstances stir him from his deep freeze, with often comical, sometimes heartbreaking consequences for himself and everyone around him. (Miramax) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A sharp, superbly acted character-driven comedic drama.
  2. A good deal of the freshness comes from a grand, clownish slob played by Thomas Haden Church -- he's actually the smartest person of the piece -- while Dennis Quaid occupies the center with a mastery that's all the more notable for its humanity.
  3. Poirier is a master at dialogue. His script crackles with sharp lines and he gives all his scenes a splendid comic undertow.
  4. Reviewed by: Zack Haddad
    It is just too bad that this film isn’t as snarky and groundbreaking as it would like you to think it is.
  5. Church is most at home in his character’s skin; aside from the game but strident Quaid, all the leading players are ideally cast. It’s the script that isn’t ideally cast.
  6. Quaid doesn't have much to work with, and so deflects the portrayal away from the mind toward the body – consistently giving the coot a hunched, pigeon-toed gait. Nice try, but that bird won't fly.
  7. Reviewed by: Ryan Stewart
    Dennis Quaid is mostly lost at sea as Lawrence Wetherhold, the Carnegie Mellon lit professor; he apparently saw fit to tinker with his performance as filming went along, greeting us in some scenes as a noticeably swishy highbrow, while at other moments he's channeling the smiling, drunken menace of Nicholson's Jack Torrance.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 28
  2. Negative: 9 out of 28
  1. MickyJ.
    Jul 8, 2008
    Loved it. Because of the cast and maybe the marketing, people were expecting something other than the intelligent, thoughtful, and intimate dark comedy that this is. Amazing performances from all the leads, sharp writing, and top-notch directing make this one of the best films of 2008. Expand
  2. JohnA.
    Apr 11, 2008
    It feels to me that it's been awhile since there has been a really intelligent comedy/drama at the theatres. I really thought this was well cast. Expand
  3. CraigA.
    Sep 2, 2008
    Coming of middle-age drama about a university professor who begins the film as an overgrown infant and ends it as every student's favorite lecturer. Expand
  4. PatrickD
    Mar 26, 2009
    The problem with the movie is that it is uninspired. It's not terrible in any aspect. The acting is credible, the direction is okay, but it lacks any heart. The worst sin of the movie is that it's boring. Expand
  5. DavidG
    May 26, 2008
    Good acting, but a horrible plot. The characters make no sense, and it seems like all of the character development happens offscreen..
  6. Trevor
    Aug 30, 2008
    Really disappointed me. The premise has great potential, but the characters are mostly unlikeable. There is no chemistry between the leads, and Dennis Quaid comes off more like a semi-retarded, old pervert than a misunderstood, grumpy genius. Several plot devices are very cliched, and the ending is pretty much as cheesy as you can get. Expand
  7. JeffC.
    Aug 12, 2008
    The WORST rental I have endured in a while.... Embarrassing for everyone involved. I had high hopes coming from the SIDEWAYS crew... but this was a stinker. A series of "we have to talk" moments stuck together with a soundtrack that tried to bring some kind of drama that the script couldn't. Character driven? .... into the ditch. Expand

See all 28 User Reviews