After a disastrous first date, caterer Holly and network sports director Messer have nothing but disdain for one other. Along with the disdain, they have a fondness for their goddaughter Sophie. But when they become all Sophie has in this world, Holly and Messer must put aside their disagreements. They’ll have to find common ground while juggling occupations and social schedules while living under the same roof.
To begin with, the picture was a romantic comedy in the manner of many others. It showed two people who despise each other are pushed together by circumstances beyond their control. Gradually they fall in love. And, while the idea here is both horrifying in that someone thought it would be a wonderful setup for a humorous romance and also terrible in terms of how awful the incident transforming our characters’ lives was, it worked.
And I’ve already thrown the second strike. Yes, it’s Katherine Heigl. Forget the syrupy, lowest common denominator stuff she’s gravitated toward post-“Grey’s Anatomy,” I just don’t find her all that appealing, even in a Judd Apatow film.
No one was more startled than I was to find her pitch-perfect in this part. She has a bit of an ego and refuses to settle for an ideal white picket fence with plump babies running around the front yard. We see this countless times before the opening credits, watching the tragedy of a blind date with her future child-raising teammate and then the three years until best friend Alison’s (Christina Hendricks) little Sophie turns one, littered with other set-ups barely getting past hello before her sourpuss rears its head, indicating it was back to the drawing board for Mr. Wonderful.
Who better than Duhamel’s flirtatious sarcasm to defrost fantasy and give her a little spontaneity? He has been Sophie’s father’s best friend since high school and is the polar antithesis of everything Holly Heigl believes in. He has a full-time job as an NBA television producer, but his days of frat life have never ended, and rides a motorbike, has no qualms about accepting a booty call on a date, and never leaves the house without his signature St. Louis Blues cap.
Holly tries to deliver her Maid of Honor speech. It doesn’t get much better as the two regularly quarrel at every Sophie-related occasion, taunting and striking while their friends laugh, both pleased that the two are still there for them and their daughter.
It’s not Heigl’s maternal emotions that seal the deal; her character is rather two-dimensional and never truly alters from beginning to end. No, it is Duhamel who takes over and captivates the audience. He is the one who grows into a parent and a lover, becoming the person Holly and Sophie require. We see him struggle with decisions that he would not have faced in his bachelor’s life.