She's The One review

Edward Burns acted, wrote, directed, produced and made the tuna sarnies for this romantically comedic follow-up to his critically applauded directorial debut, The Brothers McMullen. And it has everything: a strong, multi-layered storyline; solid performances from a talented ensemble cast; and beauteous actors and actresses for both sexes to gawp at. Okay, it doesn't have everything - - it doesn't, for example, have a prolonged shootout in a urine-stained crack den, and not a lot actually happens (this is very much a relationship movie, exploring the love and rivalry between two close and competitive brothers, and the way it affects the wives, girlfriends, parents and Thirtysomething refugees around them). But don't let that put you off.

Burns himself turns in an excellent performance as the central character Mickey, "the only English-speaking white guy driving a cab in New York." Laid back yet deceptively sharp, he brings an appealing wryness to the slacker who meets, falls in love with and marries a tasty university student called Hope. The other brother, Francis, is hitched to the shapely but sexually frustrated Jennifer Aniston, whose presence boosts the luvverly-laydee tally considerably. Aniston acquits herself admirably in her big-screen debut, though elements of her role are barely credible - - amazingly, Francis is withholding her supply of oats, forcing her to resort to more reliable, battery-operated relief.

But there is method to Francis' madness - - in the form of Cameron Diaz's Heather, who also happens to be Mickey's ex-girlfriend (though that doesn't stop Francis from schtupping her). Diaz shimmers as the siren who lures both brothers onto the rocks of trousers-down, tackle-out infidelity. Meanwhile, overseeing all this sexual jiggery-pokery is the bustling, patriarchal presence of the senior Mr Fitzpatrick, played by the splendidly gruff John Mahoney (another sitcom regular, he's the splendidly gruff patriarchal presence in Frasier). A retired 60-year-old, bored of his own relationship, Mr F busies himself dishing out pseudo-sagacious advice to his increasingly confused offspring, without realising that his wife is busy having it away with a local shopkeeper.

She's The One is, obviously, the sort of film that doesn't need car chases, digital sfx, heart-stopping action sequences or entrail spillage. Instead, it sets out to explore real issues and real people and, through swift scene changes and spiky dialogue, is both entertaining and funny in the process. Of course, you might not give a hoot about higher things, preferring to nip along just to see the lovely Jennifer Aniston in her lingerie. And we wouldn't blame you.

She's The One is carefully observed, well-made, enjoyable, thought-provoking and even funny. And: cracking crumpet, Gromit.

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