Could someone please bring this capable actress a milkshake?
ďThen She Found MeĒ is neither a predictable nor an ordinary romantic comedy.
The movie reflects the quirky intelligence of Helen Hunt who directed and
starred in it and had a strong hand in both the production and the screenplay.
She has created a character driven by desperation as she explores every option
for beating the biological time clock. There is humor in this movie, but it is
more ironic wit than the visual joke variety. Helen Hunt is serious about this
April Epner (Ms. Hunt) is a teacher who comes home after a day of Pre-K immersion to her new husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) who is himself stuck permanently in the shoes of an adolescent. It is no surprise then that on this day he tells April that their marriage is a mistake, that he is leaving. After one last frantic sex session, he does just that. Since Helen Hunt and Matthew Broderick are as unlikely a pairing as any casting director could conjure, we donít believe for a second that they could have stood each other in real life.
Although Mr. Perfect appears immediately in the wonderful form of Frank (Colin Firth) theirs will be no easy path to happiness. April is sour about lifeís timetables and indignities. She isnít easy to love. Frank, who is a loving dad to his two children, is frightened of anyone who might remotely want to replace his dead wife. He is edgy and jumpy. So is April. Each of them is wounded and the nicest part of the movie is watching them work their way awkwardly toward each other through his love of his children.
April resists all entreaties by friends and family to adopt a child. Adopted herself, she is determined to experience the natural order of things by herself and doesnít quite believe the chorus of friends who tell her that love is love whether by adoption or birth. Enter Salman Rushdie (yes, that one) as an obstetrician who leads her through the process of terminating a pregnancy that began with Ben and then ushers her through the lonely path of artificial insemination. Needless to say, April is no bargain these days. Sheís scared and miserable.
Just as her adoptive mother dies, Aprilís biological mother appears. Bernice (Bette Midler) is a local TV talk show host who mercifully underplays her ego in her new relationship with her daughter. With an uncharacteristically gentle touch, Midler breaks through the gloom to bestow some cheer on the scene.
It is understandable that Helen Hunt would choose to appear without makeup in her effort to be an ordinary person, but not quite so understandable that she could be as thin and gaunt as she is here. Itís not possible to watch her for two hours without worrying throughout about her well being. Credit Helen Hunt with originality and sensitivity, but please, could someone bring this capable actress a milkshake?
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