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Nine Months Review

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A San Francisco psychotherapist's cosy existence is thrown into comedic turmoil when his live-in lover becomes pregnant

★★★★★

Cute. Undemanding. Fluff. All words that succinctly sum up the Hollywood debut of unlikely bad boy Hugh Grant. And, if you can dispense with the notion of Grant's misadventure on Sunset Strip and take the film as it stands, there is a healthy breath of pleasure to be had from this episode in pulp Hollywood sentimentality.

A by-the-numbers remake of the French hit Neuf Mois, this stars Grant as Samuel Faulkner, a psychotherapist with a wood-panelled office, flash car, and a trendy obsession for vinyl over compact discs. But his idyllic existence of beach picnics and cruising down San Francisco's sunny boulevards soon grinds to a halt when his live-in girlfriend Rebecca (Moore) announces the presence of a bun in her oven.

And with that, every movie cliche in the pregnancy manual trots out in swift succession with Grant's dad-to-be fretting over commitment. Visits to the gynaecologist (Robin Williams, hilariously Russian-accented and providing all the film's comic high points), syrupy cooing over the ultra-sound, and a labour scene so painful as to make the process of procreation look positively off-putting, are all here.

Able support is provided by Tom Arnold and Joan Cusack as a pair of fellow expectants, a girl-adorned couple convinced their next child will be a son. Those not swept up by the phenomenon that is Hugh Grant may find their sensibilities sorely tested, with the actor swapping charm and charisma for a series of befuddled expressions so carefully positioned you could almost time their arrival with a stopwatch. Otherwise, this is a sporadically amusing, if blindingly obvious piece of light entertainment.

While not exactly poised to bother the old grey matter too much, will provide a great night's entertainment for sitcom lovers everywhere. But doing for childbirth what Four Weddings And A Funeral did for nuptials remains an unlikely proposition.