Helen Hunt directed, co-wrote, produced, and stars in Then She Found Me, but this dramedy is in no sense a vanity project. Hunt the director makes Hunt the actress look completely beaten down — at times outright haggard — as she plays April Epner, a 39-year-old schoolteacher whose hopes of having a child seem to be dashed after husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) leaves her. When April’s adoptive mother dies, she embarks on tentative, often difficult relationships with her TV-show-host birth mother (Bette Midler) and a single-father romantic interest (Colin Firth). Not that this adaptation of Elinor Lipman’s 1990 novel is all scrunchy-faced gloom, however. Hunt’s movie-directing debut frequently crackles with nice gags, as when April’s brother (Ben Shenkman) misguidedly tries to cheer her up with the news that ”a 65-year-old woman in the Bronx just gave birth to twins.” And while the casting proves a little bit too predictable (Midler as a force of nature, Broderick playing another man-child, Firth once again Mr. Right), all the characters are given enough space to demonstrate that they have at least two and a half dimensions. Novelist Salman Rushdie’s cameo as a doctor is a weird distraction, but Hunt’s performance is terrific and far more nuanced than her Oscar-winning turn in As Good as It Gets. As an actress, she helps make her director look very good indeed. B
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama; Starring: Colin Firth, Helen Hunt, Bette Midler; Director: Helen Hunt; Author: Alice Arlen, Victor Levin; Status: In Season; Runtime (in minutes): In Season; MPAA Rating: In Season; Distributor: THINKFilm
Posted April 17 2008 — 12:00 AM EDT
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