Metascore
57

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

User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 72 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
    88
    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
    60
    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
    38
    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: 13 out of 27
  2. Negative: 9 out of 27

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