Nine Months
Director: Chris Columbus. Cast: Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Tom Arnold, Joan Cusack, Robin Williams, Jeff Goldblum, Mia Cottet. Screenplay: Chris Columbus (based on the screenplay and film Neuf Mois by Patrick Braoudé).

Not a moment in Nine Months allows you to forget that the picture was intended to establish Hugh Grant as a bonafide, bankable star on the Western shore of the Atlantic. At the time, the studio considered the movie's $60 million box office a disappointment, but the filmmakers themselves were doubtless relieved. No one comes off well in this noxious, peerlessly irritating "comedy" about a couple (Grant and Julianne Moore) who are about to have their first child. She can't wait for the infant to arrive, he can't endure the fact that it's coming. Chris Columbus, whose premier achievements so far were the Home Alone pictures, again substitutes chaos for plot, and every conceivable distraction appears to prevent Nine Months from being about anything. Jeff Goldblum appears as a friend of Grant's, or a relative, or something, who breaks up with women as soon as he perceives the imminence of commitment. Joan Cusack and Tom Arnold are an overbearing couple, vigorously in favor of Grant and Moore's decision to produce, whose delight in having multiple children is matched only by their coarseness in raising them. Columbus even pulls his Mrs. Doubtfire star Robin Williams out of the wordwork to play a Slavic gynecologist equally inept at medicine, compassion, and conversation in English.

Everyone complicit in Nine Months—well, maybe not Tom Arnold—eventually picked themselves up and started making real movies again, so the polite thing to do is grimace at the aftertaste and pretend that this movie never happened. Easy enough since the plot, which not only seems straightforward but was actually lifted in its entirety from a French film of the same name, is so scattershot and unconvincing that the film barely seems to be happening even while you watch it. Nine Months, madcap thing that it is, is not a movie about a man who does not think he wants children; it is a sort of psychotic case study of a man who crashes cars, bumps his head, chokes, or passes out when someone even mentions children. Did the studio really think that his ultimate decision to stay with Moore and become a papa was a happy ending? Now there's a child who better hope that his parents fly the coop and leave him home alone. D

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