All of writer-director-actor Albert Brooks’s comedy features are good, but this one, about a twice-divorced science fiction writer moving back in with his mother (Debbie Reynolds) so he can figure out why he has problems with women, is probably the most accessible and best realized (1996). For all the seriousness of the subject matter, Brooks and his customary cowriter Monica Johnson make it pretty hilarious. Brooks’s comedies, like Woody Allen’s, are basically multifaceted reflections on neurosis, but the probing goes a lot deeper, and the human landscape is usually more generously furnished. Understanding isn’t limited to the lead characterthere’s every bit as much insight into the characters of Reynolds and Rob Morrow (the hero’s kid brother, a sports agent). A must-see. (JR)

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