Catherine (Ryan) is a mathematician at Princeton who, as the neice of Albert Einstein (Matthou), is determined to sire genius children. She is therefore engaged to psychologist Jonathan (Fry), but when mechanic Ed (Robbins) arrives and falls for her, Albert is taken with the lad, and sets up an experiment in the nature of lurve.
A smart comedy about dumb love, this kooky romance runs low on scripted fizz but rejoices in delightful performances. Princeton mathematician Catherine (Ryan) is determined to breed offspring of superior genes, so she has affianced herself to pompous twit psychologist James (Stephen Fry, expert in his American debut) - the kind of annoying fiance who exists in such comedies solely to be got rid of. Enter romantic, good-hearted, red-blooded garage mechanic Ed (massively endearing Robbins), who falls in love with Catherine at first sight.
Catherine's uncle is Princeton's most revered citizen, Albert Einstein (Matthau) - yes, the E=mc2 dude - and he is enchanted by Ed, even if Catherine is not. Intrigued by the physics and metaphysics of sexual attraction, and eager to conduct an experiment, Einstein and a trio of scientific cronies (a wonderful old boys act from Lou Jacobi, Gene Saks and Joseph Maher) set to work on Ed, coaching him in the dress and conversation appropriate to a genius.
The deception sparks off a series of increasingly ludicrous developments, which don't hold a particle of plausibility, and director Schepisi - not noted for comedy apart from Roxanne - has trouble sustaining the light material's momentum. The actors are so likeable, though, that they continue to conjure giggles and "ah"s right through to the amiably soppy conclusion.
Relatively speaking it's nonsense, but very cute.