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Yes, but what's the (male) nanny's pronoun?

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Plot Overview

Vive la FranceloversmovingNewly divorced Sandy Padgett (Catherine Zeta-Jones) at 40 moves with her two kids Sadie age 9 (Kelly Gould) and Frank Jr age 7 (Jake Cherry) to a loft above Mojo Café in Manhattan. Recent college grad Aram Finkle­stein (Justin Bartha) is 24 and employed there as assistant manager while he's coasting career-wise. He's processing a divorce from a French girl Alice Marnier (Stephanie Szostak) who'd married him to obtain a green card. He takes on baby sitting for the widow upstairs and eventually a nanny position as her work load expands. Due to their post-relation­ship vul­ner­abilities and time spent together, they form an attachment, which is complicated by their age difference.


An obscure biblical character Agur (Prov. 30:1) while not claiming to be any great one offers a chapter of advice to his buddies, (Prov. 30:2-3) “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the under­standing of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.” He gives four career nuggets sized down to his level: (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:”

volunteers needed(Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” The first career advice is to start working early at piddling jobs when young, in the summer of life. Aram bought Tampons at the store for his mother when he was a kid, then went on to do this & that in college, and progressed to a barista at Smokin' Joe Cafe, and on from there. Sandy did competitive wind surfing as a girl and salsa dancing, then spent her time while a stay-at-home mom to develop a sports rating system, and after her divorce went to an entry level fact-checking position at Sports News Network (SNN.)

moving(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” The next important step is to settle in a good location for one's chosen career. Aram really needs to move on from his current location (“You live at your parents' house,”) as “Living at your parents' place isn't exactly grabbing life by the balls.” But Sandy has the right idea moving to New York (“The city is the center of everything, guys.”)

(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands.” Another step is to develop an informal support network. Aram has his (Jewish) father's financial connections, though he seems to gravitate to the nanny gig, and Sandy gets her baby sitting help right from downstairs and emotional support from a women's issues group.

quartet(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” The final step to success is to take hold of oppor­tun­ities to secure one's niche in life. It's an imposing palace that the little spider dwells in. Sandy's way seems greased to her potentials, but Aram must try again and again to get lines on his ultimate goals.

Production Values

business woman” (2011) was written and directed by Bart Freundlich. It stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. The principals do a good job, but the plot calls for more. Improb­abilities mount up to zaniness, which is okay, but it would take the comedic timing of a Lucille Ball to pull it off. We don't need the most beautiful actress in the world, just the funniest. Instead of an 8/10 we got a 10/8. However, the bit parts were filled by some of the best character actors in the world harvested handily from NYC where it was shot.

MPAA rated it R for language, some sexual content and brief drug use. It could have been shot acceptable to a younger audience, but it was not. Sets, costumes, and photography were exemplary. Humor transitions into drama towards the end.

frog on googleThe gender bender humor of a male nanny should have been allowed to exhaust that joke line, but the tomboy with a penchant for dissecting animals would have worked better with the boy in the role, not the fair sex.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I think the writer/director's reach exceeded his grasp. A more talented production might succeed better with a remake, but I wouldn't count on it. Many obstacles to a happy ending lends itself to comedy but it isn't automatic. This one is better skipped unless the viewer can be satisfied with a piece of fluff. Feminist man-haters might like it, though.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: No action to speak of. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you somewhat on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.