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Picks and Pans Review: Nine Months

updated 07/24/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/24/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Robin Williams

Grant is parked in his car with a sexy woman other than the woman with whom he shares his life. This hot number asks him if he would like to come up for coffee. He declines. "How about for sex, then?" she asks. At the screening I attended, an audience member yelled out, "I'll pay for it."

It was the truest laugh of the night. Nine Months is a romantic comedy that will appeal most to those who like their laughs broad and obvious. It ham-handedly follows the fluctuations in the relationship of a child psychologist (Grant) and his ballet-teaching girlfriend (Moore) after she announces that she is pregnant. She longs to change diapers, he doesn't.

Director-screenwriter Chris Columbus, whose previous films include both Home Alones and Mrs. Doubtfire, lacks a light touch. Take the Rollerblading scene: Grant and a buddy set out to skate and, as the camera pulls back, we realize that the duo are atop one of San Francisco's steepest hills. It's a nifty sight gag and one that improves as a wobbly Grant helplessly rolls out of frame. Columbus, however, loads on a shot of Grant flailing and grimacing—and another of Grant, still wearing blades and pads, being carried down the ramp of a parked truck.

Making his big American movie debut, Grant displays a winning charm, though his hand fluttering and eye crinkling fast become annoying. Moore, while lovely to look at,-gets to show none of the acting chops she demonstrated in Short Cuts, Vanya on 42nd Street and Safe. And Williams, returning to his Moscow on the Hudson accent, plays a Russian-émigré physician ("Do you want some anastasia?" he asks) as if he were auditioning for a spin-off of his own. (PG-13)

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