The cheeky in-your-face Dennis Quaid has matured somewhat over the years, and in this romantic comedy-drama he plays Professor Lawrence Wetherhold: a widower and bitterly arrogant university educator who is uninterested in his students as well as alienated from his two children. His adopted ne'er-do-well brother, Chuck (Thomas Hayden Church), arrives to borrow money and stays for a while as he tries to unwind Lawrence's lonely, overachieving teenage daughter, Vanessa (Ellen Page). Ellen is a bright and cute - if a trifle bratty - teenager.
While trying to get his book published, the professor has a minor (though extremely funny) accident... and his lifestyle starts to change when he meets Dr Janet Hartigan: the lady physician who is treating him... and whom he doesn't remember as being one of his former students! Things really go into overdrive when the hitherto unpolar professor starts campaigning for the chairmanship of the University's English departent.
Quite a bit of detail has been cleverly slotted into the 91-minute running time, and the result is an enjoyable light-hearted movie that accurately depicts a one-parent family of our present day and age.
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.
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