Reviewed by: Lacey Mical (Callahan) Walker
|Featuring:||Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, Jason Bateman, Mia Farrow, Charles Grodin, Donal Logue|
|Producer:||Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner|
The Weinstein Company
“Credit-grabbing, back-stabbing, wife-nabbing. Just another day at the office.”
Tom and Sofia Riley are a happily married young couple expecting the birth of their first baby. As the film opens, we see the two playfully quibble over name choices and carefully plan their new lives as parents. Tom (Zach Braff) will keep his job as a chef, where he is to receive a promotion soon, and Sofia (Amanda Peet) will resign from her position as a lawyer to stay at home and take care of their child full time.
The young Rileys’ well-intentioned plans are thrown off-course when, on the very day that Sofia goes into labor and delivers their new baby boy, Tom is also fired from his job for standing up to his boss who is berating a coworker. Shortly after the baby is born, Tom informs a crestfallen Sofia of their new circumstances, and after receiving some harsh words from his wife about his pattern of not holding down a steady job, Tom suggests that they move away from the high cost of living in New York City, back to Sofia’s hometown in Ohio where he can accept a position at her father’s advertising firm.
At this point, the film shifts gears from a sweet, romantic comedy to a screwball farce, sprinkled with doses of satire, as Tom enters the new-age atmosphere of the advertising firm where his father-in-law (played by Charles Grodin—his first film role in 15 years) has hired him. The primary focus of the film becomes the rivalry between Tom and wheelchair-bound Chip, his wife’s schoolmate from her teenage years, who is determined to sabotage Tom at every turn.
Chip (Jason Bateman) is “like a son” to Tom’s father-in-law, and he is placed over Tom at the ad firm—as his mentor. He resents and feels threatened by Tom’s presence at the firm. An “Eddie Haskall” character who is vindictive, manipulative, dishonest and cruel, Chip wants Tom to fail both in his job and in his relationship with Sofia, for whom Chip still carries a torch.
While Sofia wrestles with missing her job as an attorney and feelings of loneliness at home with the baby, Tom, who is an overall “nice guy” and only wants to succeed at supporting his family and getting along with those around him, is eventually dragged down by Chip’s constant taunting and vices, so the two men engage in an all-out war.
There are several scenes of slapstick violence, but no gore.
While there are no actual lovemaking scenes, the sexual content is somewhat extensive:
Language: 9 religious exclamations, 1 f-word, 18 sexual references, 13 anatomical terms, 1 obscene hand gesture, 11 scatological terms, 13 mild obscenities, 2 derogatory terms for physically handicapped (list from Kids-in-Mind)
My bottom line:
This movie was reasonably entertaining. The acting is good, and the storyline was somewhat original, though many of the threads can be found in previously made films. It provided several laughs not fueled by crass or crude humor, though there was an unhealthy dose of that sort of base scripting as well. From an entertainment value perspective, it’s probably one worth renting. From a moral standpoint, I do not recommend this film. Definitely not a family-friendly flick.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.