The film follows the sentimental education of a callow youth (Dempsey) who is invited by his girlfriend (Connelly) to spend Christmas with her at her folks shambling gothic mansion, only to be unceremoniously dumped by her as soon as he arrives.
Produced under the wing of Robert Redfords Sundance Institute, Michael Hoffmans reasonably endearing follow-up to Promised Land seems intent on establishing his reputation as an artier John Hughes.
Having been unceremoniously dumped, Dempsey wastes no time in going to plan B.
Hot for her sisters and hassled by her nude, philosophising father, he makes an ass of himself in endless recondite settings until he finds sympathy with the girls wiggy grandmother (Kedrova reprising her role in Zorba for the umpteenth time). When grandma rises up from her sick bed at the local hospital and heads for the snowy wastes, the sisters and Dempsey tramp meaningfully in her wake.
Somehow, through all this beautifully-shot rigmarole, Dempsey is supposed to square the circle, ponder meaningfully on love, life and death, the big picture. Unfortunately he and Hoffman can only dredge up a few old homilies about the essentially sphinx-like qualities of beautiful young women.
Connelly and Kelley (the elder sister) are certain tips for stardom but, for the time being, John Hughes looks pretty safe as the bratpack guru.