A self-absorbed professor thinks more about his career than his children. Dennis Quaid plays the lead character Professor Lawrence Wetherhold. He is an English professor who teaches at Carnegie Mellon. His son James (played by Ashton Holmes) does not get along well with him. He does not have much time for his daughter Vanessa (played by Ellen Page), who is a superior high school student. He tries to avoid his low-life brother Chuck (played by Thomas Haden Church) as much as possible. Professor Wetherhold is cynical. He does not care about any of his students. He actually enjoys failing them from his classes. All he cares about is publishing the book he is working on which is about illiteracy.
He gets into trouble when he leaves his car in a spot where it is illegal to park. The car is towed. When he tries to retrieve it, he finds it held in a secured lot that is guarded by one of his former students that he failed in his class. The student will not let him enter the lot to get his briefcase that is in the car. He decides to climb over the fence. While climbing the fence, he falls, knocks himself out, and is taken to the emergency room.
One of his other former students is the doctor in the emergency room. She is Dr. Janet Hartigan (Parker). He gets to know her better when he goes back to the hospital. He finds out she used to be in his class. When Chuck does not pick him up at the hospital, as he is supposed to, he asks her to drive him home. When they get to his house, he invites her to go out with him. She agrees. The first date is a disaster. Professor Wetherhold talks only about himself, not letting Dr. Hartigan say much of anything. It is so rude that Dr. Hartigan leaves. Vanessa finds out Dr. Hartigan is seeing her father and she does not like it. Professor Wetherhold makes up an excuse to go to the emergency room again, just so he can see Dr. Hartigan. They go out again. This time it is nicer. They end up going back to Dr. Hartigan's place for sex. Professor Wetherhold drives her crazy with worrying and needing her to do everything to make him feel better. She makes an excuse that she is needed at the hospital, gets away from him, and stops answering his calls. She tries to make it up to him by arriving with a cake as a surprise, but her unplanned visit interrupts a big family fight that is going on between the professor and his children.
James gets a poem published in the New Yorker magazine. Professor Wetherhold cannot get his academic book published until is it finally accepted by publisher that publishes only regular books. They change almost everything about the book, including the title, which upsets Professor Wetherhold. Dr. Hartigan goes with him to New York when he visits the publisher. She learns on the trip that she is pregnant. Professor Wetherhold is so focused on the problems with his book and his campaign to become chairman of the English department at Carnegie Mellon that he barely notices when Dr. Hartigan breaks up with him. When he returns, he realizes he has lost Dr. Hartigan by being so self-focused. Chuck and James tell him he has neglected his family also. We he sees Dr. Hartigan again; she tells him she is pregnant. This makes him change. He becomes a better professor and starts treating his children better as well. At the end, Dr. Hartigan and Professor Wetherhold are happy together when they are blessed with twins.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is fun to see some of the students get even with a professor that treated them so badly.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when Dr. Hartigan storms out of the restaurant when Professor Wetherhold is not paying any attention to her, because he deserves to be abandoned for being such a jerk.
Opinion about the main character:
One he stops thinking only about himself, her actually becomes a decent guy.