Guy meets Lizzie (Cate Blanchett), a doctor, when he’s trying to help a stray cat about to give birth. It’s love at first sight, and soon the attractive pair are planning a sumptuous wedding, preparations for which are overseen by Lizzie’s snobbish mother (Linden Wilkinson). But, in the middle of the celebration, Guy finds his thoughts drawn to Jenny (Frances O’Connor), the exuberant working-class girl he lived with when he was in his 20s. As the wedding proceeds, flashbacks to the happy times experienced by Guy and Jenny (making love in a clothing store, setting up house together, decorating the Christmas tree while naked) force him to realize that the woman he’s marrying is almost a stranger.
By far the film’s most enjoyable sequences are the flashbacks charting the Guy-Jenny relationship to its inevitable conclusion; best scene is one in which they break the news to Jenny’s parents that they’ve decided to separate. O’Connor (“Love and Other Catastrophes,” “Kiss or Kill”) effortlessly steals the film with her ebullient performance, tilting the balance away from the wedding scenes, in which Blanchett is a rather pallid Lizzie. Several of the supporting characters come across as cliched, through no fault of a strong cast of actors.
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Guy’s devotion to a Vietnamese orphan he’s sponsored comes across as a strained plot device, especially when it’s brought to the fore late in the film. Ultimate message (that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone and that happiness is something you appreciate only in retrospect) is hardly an original one.
Tech credits are modest but serviceable.