I wouldn’t be wasting my time writing a review if I didn’t like the movie. What baffles me after watching it, however, is how come it received such average reviews and responses. I am not talking of something phenomenal like “A beautiful mind” or “Shawshank Redemption”, but they belong to a different genre, and let’s not compare apples and oranges. As a romantic comedy, I think that the movie stands out. What I like best about it is the sense of balance and proportion- just the right amount of comedy, emotion, romance, drama, and tears. Nothing grossly overdone or overcooked, and the human emotions of happiness, doubt, and uncertainty so well depicted.
The formula of the movie works. When a good looking (lean, tall and handsome) man is seen with a cute baby, women suffer a hyper-secretion of whatever hormones that make you learn to sniff for a mate or coax him into fatherhood. When the man is big time into sports, rides a bike, shows up late for a first date and doesn’t seem to care, he becomes more endearing. On one hand there is “Doctor Free Range Turkey”, all “predictable and dependable”, and on the other hand there is Mr. Messer, someone who perpetually messes up things with the good looking and killer smiley Holly. When they get into a situation where they have to bring up Sophie together, neither one has a clue about what to do. They are scared, confused, and do not want to mess up. I love the way the movie develops part by part, scene by scene, and every little nuance that is added to it. Holly reads a book where they talk about giving babies time to “self-soothe” when they wake up. The way Messer makes up the songs instantly, “Keanu Reeves saves the bus”. The way “Doctor Love” says, “If I and my ex-wife fought that way, we’d still be married”. The way Messer’s gradual acceptance of Holly shows when he lets Holly ride his bike (Isn’t it is a big thing for men to let women touch their cars or bikes?). The way Messer demonstrates how he picks up women at the grocery stores, by being his charming self with a baby in arms (I loved the brilliant smile he flashes when Holly realizes he is picking up on her). And the best of all, Messer’s facial expression on two occasions, first, when Amy the baby sitter says “You both make a cute couple” (God knows how many times I have rewound the scene to watch the look he gives Holly), and second, when Holly and Messer argue during Thanksgiving and he replies to Holly’s “But not with a man who didn’t love me back” with “But I did. I still do”. Floodgates of emotions broke, and I was found shedding buckets of tears.
The film has its great moments and its aha moments. The baby is a pleasure to watch. Holly is an independent woman, yet unsure and vulnerable in just the right amount. The movie has no “ghyanghyane” and “panpyane” and “nyakamo” moments (can’t find an apt translation for these Bengali terms). And I would never take my eyes of Messer if I could help it. I could go on and on about the movie, the fine editing, the way one scene develops from another, the quick, witty retorts, and the fine eye for detail, but let me stop here. For a person who sleeps through most movies, it is big when I tell you I have watched the entire movie two and a half times in the last four days.