When Jane Marks is in hospital for surgery, her self-obsessed kids - former beauty queen Michelle, insecure actress Elizabeth and adopted, African-American Annie - are forced to pull together as a family.
It has been five years since Nicole Holofcener's debut, Walking And Talking, but she's used it wisely; honing her scripting skills on Sex And
The City and knocking this second writer-director project into shape.
Three of the parts were written for their inhabitants (Brenda Blethyn's young-at-heart mum, Dermot Mulroney's egotistical actor and Catherine Keener's bitter Michelle), and the remaining roles are so well cast, they may as well have been tailor-made.
Particular stand-outs are Emily Mortimer - with a brave, show-stopping, flesh-baring scene - the young Raven Goodwin as the bolshie adoptee and Jake Gyllenhaal as Michelle's unlikely employer.
Incident-filled, rather than plot-driven, the film's core group of characters all have time to reveal their foibles and grow from irritating cyphers into likeable human beings, providing plenty of bitter-sweet humour along the way.
Who’d have thought spending 90 minutes with a bunch of neurotic women could be such fun? An intelligent, unassuming drama that’s never less than enjoyable.
Reviewed by Emma Cochrane