In this pleasant romantic breeze, keen-as-mustard, 30-something softball champion Reese Witherspoon goes looking for love when she's dropped from the team. However, she's spoilt for choice - there's Owen Wilson's womanising baseball pitcher... or Paul Rudd's businessman, who's being investigated for fraud. It doesn't help that his overbearing dad (Jack Nicholson) is also in the picture. Writer-director James L Brooks returns to the emotional minefield he charted in As Good As It Gets.
James L Brooks
Of all the misjudgements, comic mis-timings and narrative cul-de-sacs mirthlessly explored in this stuttering rom-com possibly the worst is to cast a banker as the romantic lead.
Occupying a position in the pecking-order-of-hate well below estate agents and expense-fiddling MPs, they have all the affairs-of-the-heart allure of Fred the Shred.
Even Paul Rudd - a capable comedy actor - can't make financial whizz-kid George Madison attractive despite his protestations of innocence as he's hung out to dry for fraud by the bank built up by his dad (Nicholson).
It's just as well then that Lisa (Witherspoon) - still smarting after being unceremoniously dropped by her softball team - doesn't see George as a morally suspect player in a corrupt industry but just a regular guy trying to get a break.
But it's complicated. Lisa is in an on-off relationship with major league basketball pitcher Matty (Wilson), a lothario whose skewed sense of chivalry means he keeps a wardrobe full of fluffy pink tops for his female conquests.
For a movie that bases its premise on missed opportunities, this is one missed opportunity.
Writer-director James L Brooks can write a zinging one-liner while the acting quartet of Witherspoon, Wilson, Rudd and Nicholson can't be faulted in their efforts to elicit some spark from such stodgy material.
However, the concept never really comes together and the narrative meanders meaninglessly from one confrontation to another.
How do I know? Because I had to sit through it.