Then She Found Me 2008 R CC

(593) IMDb 6/10

A New York schoolteacher hits a midlife crisis when, in quick succession, her husband leaves, her adoptive mother dies and her biological mother, an eccentric talk show host, materializes and turns her life upside down as she begins a courtship with the father of one of her students.

Helen Hunt, Bette Midler
1 hour, 41 minutes

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Format: DVD
Released earlier this year, Baby Mama covers the same emotional territory but in much broader slapstick terms, while this 2008 serio-comedy is driven far more by character than situation. In this case, the protagonist is 39-year-old April Epner, a New York kindergarten teacher who was raised in a close-knit Jewish family and desperately wants the biological connection of a birth child before her alarm clock goes off. She marries fellow teacher Ben, an inarticulate schlub with a terminal case of the Peter Pan Syndrome. After a brief time, he wants out of the marriage, and at almost the same time, April's adoptive mother Trudy dies. Not even a month goes by before April's biological mother suddenly shows up in the form of the brazenly overbearing but genuinely likeable Bernice Graves, a cable talk-show hostess who is something of a local media celebrity. If life was not complicated enough, April also finds herself drawn to Frank, the single father of one of her pupils. Unlike Ben, he feels the same about April but is fighting his own bitterness about his own recent divorce.

Not only does Helen Hunt star as April, but she also co-wrote the screenplay with Alice Arlen and Victor Levin and makes her big-screen directorial debut. Granted she's more impressive as an actress than a filmmaker, but as a director and writer, she makes the most of a storyline that stacks the deck a bit like a Lifetime TV-movie. There are enough realistic surprises that take the plot off the rails in a good way. Looking gaunt and avoiding much make-up, Hunt is really playing a variation of the beaten-down waitress she played in
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2008
Format: DVD
In a featurette on the DVD release version of THEN SHE FOUND ME writer (with Alice Arlen and Victor Levin) /producer/director Helen Hunt shares a ten year journey to have a film made of a novel by Elinor Lipman. Her cast shares in the very sentimental story of Hunt's devotion and seemingly endless charisma and abilities. The explanation for making this budget film are in many ways more successful than the film, a work the cast seems determined to classify as a comedy but a work that is far more a human drama.

April Epner (Helen Hunt) is married to fellow schoolteacher Ben Green (Matthew Broderick) and longs to have a baby before her advancing age prevents her dream. April was adopted as an infant by a Jewish couple who subsequently gave birth to April's brother Freddy (Ben Shenkman): April has always longed to have been Freddy's biological equal, wondering what it would feel like NOT to be adopted. April's busy life implodes: Ben has decided he doesn't like his life and leaves April, April's mother dies, April meets Frank (Colin Firth) a recently divorced writer and father of two children, and April is contacted by a man who can put April in touch with her birth mother - popular TV talk show hostess Bernice Graves (Bette Midler). And if these turns of events weren't traumatic enough, April discovers that she has become pregnant by Ben and Ben is unsure whether he can handle the restructuring of his life to accommodate April. Cautiously April and Frank begin a rather tenuous courtship which is almost immediately threatened by April's discovery of her pregnant state. April and Bernice meet, exchange backgrounds, and make pacts to test their biologic relationship.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Tara Lohman on October 23, 2008
Format: DVD
Ok, I tried. I really, really tried not to compare the movie with the book. I loved the book, a tender, poignant journey of love in which April, albeit unwillingly, learns to accept the difficult person who gave birth to her and slowly learns the devastating truth of her past. But Elinor Lipman says she does not mind the fact that Helen Hunt basically took her book and scissored away everything but a few names and the center plot of the book, and came up with this idiotic film about ticking biological clocks instead.

But I have to wonder, how can she not mind? This hash of a movie bears little resemblance to what it was based on, so why did Helen Hunt not just find someone to write a new screenplay about a woman who wanted to have a baby? Why did she take a brilliant story, with fabulous characters, and turn it into this really rather dumb movie?

In the book, Bernice is difficult but ultimately complex and suprisingly sympathetic by the end, but Bette Midler's Bernice is just a cardboard cutout of the same person. And it's a shame, because Midler would have played the "real" Bernice beautifully if she had had a decent script to work with. And in the book, April is a bit uptight, but not the brittle, haggard neurotic that is portrayed here. And while Colin Firth is, as usual, great to look at, his character is poorly written as well. The male "hero" of the book, Dwight, and his relationship with April, are so appealing, that I cannot believe these two annoying men and their shallow interactions with the main character are supposed to replace that.

I did give this movie two stars because I liked Salman Rushdie playing the part of the doctor and I liked the sweet little twist at the end. But the whole time I watched it, I couldn't help thinking of the wonderful book at home on my shelf and asking, "Why, oh why, did someone have to screw it up so very badly?"
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