Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh

Writer-director Don Roos's follow-up to the blackly funny OPPOSITE OF SEX is altogether more somber, but his biting wit keeps it from becoming mired in gloom. Cocksure, Los Angeles-based adman Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck), who's just landed the

lucrative Infinity Airline account, gets delayed at Chicago's O'Hare airport by bad weather. He winds up hanging out with sexy businesswoman Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), whose flight has been cancelled, and rumpled playwright Greg Janello (Tony Goldwyn), who desperately wants to get home to his family in L.A. Greg, who's managed to score a scarce airport-hotel voucher, generously gives it to Mimi. And in an uncharacteristic moment of altruism (albeit tainted by the fact that he sees an opportunity to spend the night with Mimi), Buddy gives Greg his ticket and uses his Infinity connections to hustle Greg through the boarding gate. An hour after take-off, the plane blows up and kills everyone aboard. Thoroughly shaken by his brush with death and the way in which he escaped it, Buddy goes into a year-long, alcohol-fueled tailspin that nearly costs him his job and finally lands him in a posh rehab facility. Newly sober, Buddy starts making amends, surreptitiously checking in on Greg's widow, Abby (Gwyneth Paltrow), who's just started working as a real estate broker. Buddy does a little good deed, slipping her some much-needed work, but doesn't reveal that something more than coincidence has brought them together. When they start falling in love, things get very complicated — how can Buddy now tell Abby he's the guy who put her husband on the doomed plane? Beneath the plot's romantic turns lies a surprisingly complex examination of the personal and professional price of honesty; falsehoods, half-truths, little white lies and self-delusion spur most of the key plot developments, and Roos never resorts to platitudes to account for their effects.