From the Chicago Reader (June 20, 2003). — J.R.
Desperate to get over his writing block so he can finish a novel, collect $125,000 from a publisher (director Rob Reiner), and pay off gambling debts to violent Cuban loan sharks, a young author (Luke Wilson) hires a stenographer (Kate Hudson) who helps him along with her strong opinions. The novel, set in 1924, follows the romantic adventures of an aspiring novelist (Wilson again) working for a French family as an English tutor and romancing first the children’s mother (Sophie Marceau) and in later versions her au pair (Hudson again), a character whose nationality keeps changing as the story is revised. The actors make this fun if you can overlook the ludicrous view of Jeremy Leven’s screenplay concerning how novels are written and what publishers generally pay for them — the true subject is writing silly Hollywood scripts like this one. 100 min. (JR)