Melanie Parker, mother of Sammy, and Jack Taylor, father of Maggie, are both divorced. They meet one morning when overwhelmed Jack is left unexpectedly with Maggie and forgets that Melanie was to take her to school. As a result, both children miss their school field trip and are stuck with the parents. The two adults project their negative stereotypes of ex-spouses on each other, but end up needing to rely on each other to watch the children.
On a critical day in their respective careers, a stressed single mother architect (Pfeiffer) and a bitter, divorced dad journalist (Clooney) both find themselves child care challenged.
Their first encounter is anything but promising; however, saddled with their respective offspring, the desperate duo eventually agree to take turns brat-wrangling while the other tackles pressing professional crises. All day they experience a catalogue of catastrophes, meeting up every few hours to hand over exhausting kids, butt heads and swap barbs about parenthood, careerism and love in the 90s. So gee, do you think they'll warm to each other by sundown or what? And will they ever kiss before the audience goes crazy?
Pfeiffer does the vulnerable, pratfalling care-giver determined to cope, with her usual grace. The small boy designated as her boy (Alex Linz) is so ludicrously irritating, disaster-prone and whiny, however, that one wishes she'd send him into the speeding traffic to play before reel two. And when she doesn't have Clooney to spar with, the humour too often depends on her spilling things or falling over.
Clooney, the ER hearthrob (and who'd have guessed it just a few years ago when he was toiling unnoticed in sitcoms?) firmly establishes his suitability for major player status. He's sexy and funny with Pfeiffer, natural with the children, and eases through this tosh with the relaxed confidence that is the hallmark of a real leading man.
Minus delightful stars, this would be laboured indeed. Thanks to them, it scrapes along as modestly appealing fluff.