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Jack & Sarah Reviews

Richard E. Grant (HENRY & JUNE), an engagingly off-kilter actor whose resemblance to a praying mantis grows more pronounced with each passing year, lends some eccentric charm to this rather dour romantic comedy. Grant plays Jack, an English lawyer who simultaneously becomes a widower and the father of a baby girl (enchanting Bianca and Sophie Lee). His parents (Judi Dench and David Swift) and mother-in-law (Eileen Atkins) smother him with help and advice, which he ignores in favor of hiring a flaky American waitress (Samantha Mathis) as little Sarah's nanny. Do they fall in love despite their differences in age, education and cultural background? Do you have to ask? Made for British TV, this picture is uneven and a bit long, and it suffers from the pompous hamming of Ian McKellen as a patronizing old wino. But its shagginess is part of its charm, especially in contrast to 1995's NINE MONTHS -- which was as smooth as a newborn's bottom, and as odious a piece of smugly self-satisfied baby idolatry as has ever been made.