Combine I.Q.'s talent with its fresh story and it charms. Garage mechanic Ed Walters (Robbins) is captivated at first glimpse by pretty, perky Catherine (Ryan), a gifted academic who lives with her uncle, Albert Einstein (a brilliant Matthau). Catherine is engaged to pretentious James Moreland (the oh-so-appropriate English actor and writer Stephen Fry). Catherine's early 1950s world is all bookish and brainy, even though she has aspirations toward the romantic (Moreland's idea of a honeymoon is the Belgian Congo with Pygmies; she longs for Hawaii). Einstein and his professor pals, played by Lou Jacobi, Gene Saks, and Joseph Maher, conspire to match their beloved Catherine with the sincere and smart (though not intellectual) Ed.
This is a sweet--but not saccharine--story about "engineering" the course of true love and the ironic triumph of heart over head. The topnotch performances (which also include Tony Shalhoub and Frank Whaley as fellow mechanics) really draw audiences into this winning movie. --N.F. Mendoza
Especially for us Tim fans--wahoo---what a cutie:)
This is brilliantly funny, poignant and tender, but never insipid (the director is Australia...so insipidness is definitely out) movie. Matthau is truly fantastic as Einstein, as are his three sidekicks (especially Godel! and the tree that likes to eat their stuff!) as they try to manuever the two leads together and remove the Lesser Professor, a.k.a the rat man, Chimp Pimp, etc from the picture: the stuffy english fiance of Meg Ryan's Character, played perfectly by Stephen Frey. Of course the Lesser Professor is trying to hang on to Meg Ryan's character and expose Tim Robbin's character as a fraud because of his new found friendhsip with Einstein and the secret paper they're working on so Tim Robbin's character can impress Meg Ryan's charater with 'his genius' because that is what she looks for in a man- a genetic hope of making genius children so she, lacking in her own confidence, can achieve through her children. MEg Ryan's character is Eistein's neice.
I can't understand how Matthau didn't get a best supporting actor nomination for this movie! He is so good, as is all the cast: they fit perfectly, especially the 'four boys'.
The story is fairly linear but well paced. It does deal with a lesser theme of self belief, being yourself, and sexual equality and that brilliant men can be have brilliant women as their equal, or betters. The main theme is not letting the brain rule the heart too much, and to be happy. And that some things-love- defy science!
I can't think of any movie like this one. Its unique, clever, witty and subtle at times (especially the humor: Einstein on a motorbike going wah-hoo...very cool!). So if you like your movies sophisticated, wholesome, honest, stylish and not contrived then you defintely want to see this one! The cinematography and 'fifty-ness' is fantastic!
Definitely 5 stars! More even...!
DVD is very plain: just the movie. No added features or even bio's for that matter. But with a movie this good, who needs them? The picture and sound quality are top notch.