BARNEY'S VERSION is the most enjoyable movie I've seen so far this year though it's actually a 2010 film arriving here a couple of months late.
Paul Giamatti is the title character in this comedy-drama about a foolish, very selfish man who falls in love someone other than his bride on the very day of his second wedding to a wealthy woman played by Minnie Driver.
You will disapprove of a lot of Barney's actions, but Giamatti makes him unforgettable.
Giamatti's Barney Panofsky is a hard drinking, cigar smoking ne're do well who falls hard for Miriam (Rosamund Pike), a wedding guest he's never met before.
Barney: Are you doing anything later, because we could still catch a flight to Rome?
Miriam: The bride might take issue with that.
Never one to take "no" for an answer, Barney catches up with Miriam on a train as she makes her way home from his wedding.
Miriam: Are you out of your mind?
Barney: No, I'm bent over backwards in love with you.
Miriam: don't be ridiculous. We just met...at your wedding!
Barney starts laughing.
Rosamund Pike is perfect as Miriam, a fine human being who can't help being moved a little about the crazy guy who won't stop pursuing her.
And Dustin Hoffman really stands out as Barney's father, a former detective who tries to give his son some practical advice.
Hoffman: Maybe you should take a step back before you do something rash and take a good hard look at the situation. You're married to a well bred woman who is loaded, makes a nice flakey kugel, has a beautiful rack. Many successful marriages have been built on far less.
The film covers almost forty years in Barney's messed up life and some strands of the story don't go anywhere, but the fine acting and the memorable characters more than make up for a little sloppiness.