HOPE FLOATS: Birdee (Sandra Bullock) is an unassuming housewife whose life is disrupted when her husband (Michael Pare) reveals his infidelity to her on a Jerry Springer-style talk show. She goes home to her mother and the small town in which she grew up--where, of course, everyone knows about her televised marital collapse. Things only get worse as a family tragedy brings her ex-husband back for an official divorce. Meanwhile an old friend, Justin (Harry Connick Jr.), has turned up, sparking a romance. While Justin's intentions are good, Birdee struggles with the decision to let him fully into her life. This 1998 sleeper was a pet project of leading actress Bullock and became a surprise hit, touching the hearts of its viewers.
ONE FINE DAY: George Clooney plays a rakish, irresponsible, and sexy single dad and Michelle Pfeiffer is a neurotic, standoffish, and sexy single mom in this likeable, fast-paced romantic comedy. Melanie Parker is an architect and a perfectionist workaholic who has no time for a social life. Unfortunately, things spin out of her control on the day of the biggest presentation of her career, when her son Sammy shows up late to school and misses the class field trip; he is left in Melanie's care for the day. Jack Taylor, a feckless newspaper reporter, finds himself in much the same situation when his newly married ex-wife leaves their daughter Maggie with him for a week, requiring a level of responsibility which he is unprepared for. The two meet in front of the school and sparks-of the ill-tempered kind-fly, as they project onto each other the faults of their exes. Eventually, however, as each races to save his or her job while keeping their kids intact, their true feelings for one another emerge. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for the best original song ("For the First Time").
DOWN WITH LOVE: Part tribute to the Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedies of the 1950s and 1960s, and part commentary on the changing sexual mores of a bygone era, DOWN WITH LOVE is a bright, funny, technicolor treat that sets out to prove that opposites attract. Set in early-60s New York, the film follows the exploits of hot new feminist author Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger), whose best-selling book, DOWN WITH LOVE, teaches women to focus on their careers and never fall in love. This viewpoint is in direct contrast with Catch Block (Ewan McGregor), a smooth journalist and man-about-town. Catch and Barbara soon become arch enemies. But as the book sales soar, Catch hatches a devious plan, disguising himself in an attempt to seduce the divine Ms. Novak, thereby debunking the myths of her book, and simultaneously winning the journalistic scoop of the year.
Director Peyton Reed has successfully emulated the comedies of yesteryear with this hammy, heady mix of endless double entendres, split-screen techniques, and a healthy dose of sexual politics. Zellweger and McGregor clearly delight in their retro roles, deliciously exaggerating their characters, with ample support provided by David Hyde Pierce and Sarah Paulson. DOWN WITH LOVE is a comedy that uses characters from the past to deliver a message that resonates in the present, and provides across-the-board appeal for audiences of all ages.