The movie deals with love and its various incarnations, set within a community of friends in Portland, Oregon. Harry Stevenson provides narration about how love can affect one's life.
Bradley runs a small cafe in Portland. He has been married to his wife Kathryn for 6+ years. However, their marriage becomes strained. Soon enough Kathryn begins a lesbian relationship with a woman, Jenny, whom she meets playing softball, and leaves Bradley. The divorce affects Bradley greatly, but he soon finds love again in Diana, a realtor who also has a past with a married man named David. Though she ends her affair with David to marry Bradley, they ultimately declare they are in love with each other and Diana leaves Bradley, again devastating him. Now twice divorced, Bradley suffers a mini-breakdown and stabs himself in the hand. As he is getting stitched up in the hospital he falls for his doctor, Margit. In the film's conclusion the two are revealed to marry.
Oscar and Chloe
Oscar is a young man working at Bradley's cafe who soon meets and falls in love with a girl named Chloe. However, Oscar is revealed to be living with his alcoholically abusive father, Bat. When Chloe visits a fortune-teller, she is told that Oscar will die. Chloe, though upset at first, straightens her resolve about her love for Oscar and their future together. Coming home, she urges Oscar to get married to her immediately. At the wedding, Chloe reveals to Harry that she is pregnant, and plans to have another baby right after due to Harry's advice of having "two." In the film's conclusion everybody gathers for an afternoon in the park. While playing football, Oscar collapses; despite an attempt to get him to a hospital, congested traffic interferes, and he dies of a heart defect. Bat attempts to avenge his son's death by harming Chloe but Harry scares him off, and then asks Chloe if he and his wife Esther can 'adopt' her as their own.
Diana and David
Diana is a successful realtor and has been carrying on an affair with the married David. Though she asks him numerous times to leave his wife of 11 years, Karen, he cannot bring himself to do it. Their relationship becomes even more volatile when Diana begins dating Bradley and falls in love with him. David insists he loves Diana, but is unable to leave his wife. Diana marries Bradley and ends her affair with David. However, their love is later rekindled when Karen discovers her husband was cheating, leaving him. Free at last, David and Diana have an emotional confrontation in the park that ends with a kiss that Bradley sees, fueling their divorce and Bradley stabbing himself. In the film's conclusion Diana and David are shown as a public and functionally happy couple.
Harry and Esther
Harry and his wife Esther have been married a long time. Harry is a patron at Bradley's cafe and often provides the younger generation with advice on love. However, it is revealed that Harry and Esther are masking their own grief after the death of their adult son, Aaron. Harry reveals the nature of his son's death to Chloe, whom he and Esther grow very close to. Harry has also been struggling with the decision of going back to work as a professor at a university. In the film's conclusion, after Oscar's death, Harry and Esther offer to adopt a now widowed and pregnant Chloe, who tearfully accepts their offer.Morgan Freeman as Harry StevensonGreg Kinnear as Bradley SmithRadha Mitchell as Diana CroceBilly Burke as David WatsonSelma Blair as Kathryn SmithAlexa Davalos as Chloe BarlowToby Hemingway as Oscar GamlenStana Katic as JennyErika Marozsán as Dr. Margit VekashiJane Alexander as Esther StevensonFred Ward as Bat GamlenMargo Martindale as fortune teller Mrs. Maggarolian
While many of the movie's scenes are set at Portland State University, the nearby campuses of Western Seminary and Reed College were the actual locations of filming. Locations at Reed include the Blue Bridge, the front lawn and Eliot Circle. Scenes in the Jitters Cafe, owned by Kinnear's character, were filmed at the Fresh Pot at the corner of N Mississippi Avenue and Shaver streets in Portland.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 41% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 104 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 51 out of 100, based on 28 reviews.
In his lukewarm review, Roger Ebert stated that this film contains the worst performance of Fred Ward, and "no movie can be very good that contains Fred Ward's worst performance!"
In its opening weekend, the film grossed US$1.7 million in 1,200 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #12 at the box office. It grossed a total of US$5.4 million worldwide – US$3.5 million in the United States and Canada and US$1.9 million in other territories.