Smart-but-ineffectual journalist Dan "We use euphemisms!" cannot decide between his girlfriend, loving-but-clingy waitress Alice
Patrick Marber's acclaimed stage drama about the romantic interactions of four people has been given a reverent screen adaptation by director and producer Mike Nichols. Dan (Jude Law) is a writer in London who wants to finish a novel, but in the meantime supports himself by writing obituaries. One day he chances upon Alice (Natalie Portman), a beautiful young American expatriate, working as a stripper, when he sees her get hit by a car. Alice immediately falls for Dan, and gives him her love without reservation. Dan is initially enchanted with Alice, and returns her affection, but while she inspires him to write his novel (based on her life), her neediness begins to wear on him. Anna (Julia Roberts) is a photographer who is hired to take a portrait of Dan for the dust jacket of his book; Dan is attracted to her easy confidence, and while the two of them flirt, Anna soon (inadvertently through Dan's playful machinations) meets Larry (Clive Owen), a dermatologist, and marries him.
Smart-but-ineffectual journalist Dan "We use euphemisms!" cannot decide between his girlfriend, loving-but-clingy waitress Alice, or his lover cold-but-intellectual photographer Anna; herself indecisive between Dan and honest-but-thuggish "You're bloody gorgeous!" doctor Larry. The film, as Tarantino might put it, puts the four leading characters in a box and strips them apart.