Nice concept, shaky execution--that about sums up the mixed blessings of British actor Peter Howitt's intelligent but forgivably flawed debut as a writer-director. It's got more emotional depth than most frothy romantic comedies, and its central idea--the parallel tracking of two possible destinies for a young London professional played by Gwyneth Paltrow--is full of involving possibilities. It's essentially a what-if scenario with Helen (Paltrow) at the center of two slightly but significantly different romantic trajectories, one involving her two-timing boyfriend (John Lynch) and the other with an amiable chap (John Hannah) who represents a happier outcome. That's the film's basic problem, however: The two scenarios are so romantically imbalanced (one guy's a total cad, the other charmingly sincere) that Helen inadvertently comes off looking foolish and needlessly confused. Still, this remains a pleasant experiment, and Howitt's dialogue is witty enough to keep things entertaining. It's also a treat for Paltrow fans; not only does the svelte actress handle a British accent without embarrassing herself, but she gets to play two subtle variations of the same character, sporting different wardrobes and hairstyles in a role that plays into her glamorous off-screen persona. --Jeff Shannon
Well, if it makes you feel any better... do you see that bloke over there?
Not only does he own a personalized matching set of crocodile-skin luggage, but his favorite TV program is Baywatch. So you see there's always someone sadder than you.
Do you love him?
No, I could never love a Baywatch fan.
Sorry, let me just... Lydia's becoming more and more demanding and you feel bad because Helen's working night and day to keep the money coming in. But you've asked Helen to come on a research trip to Dorset with you - knowing that she wouldn't be able to - to cover up the fact that you're really taking Lydia. And despite the fact that Lydia gave you an out on the phone - which you didn't take - you're having a moral dilemma.
Gerry, you are a morality-free zone.
I'm trying to be your girlfriend Gerry! I'm trying to win you back! I'm standing on the platform at Limbo Central with my heart and soul packed in my suitcase waiting for the Gerry Fucking Express to roll in and tell me that my ticket is still valid and that I may reboard the train. Only the station announcer keeps coming on and telling me that my train has been delayed as the driver has suffered a major panic attack in Indecision City, "We suggest you take the bus"! That's what I have been trying to do, you cripple!
Look, James. Maybe I shouldn't be here. I'm sorry, I'm not being fair. You know, under normal circumstances, etcetera... You're really nice - and funny. My friend Anna thinks you're cute...
Wait. Wait! Your friend Anna thinks I'm cute? Your friend ANNA thinks I'm cute? Shit, I just blew - wait
- two eighty-five on the wrong girl!