Well, this was supposed to be our family movie night selection to watch with one of our children. Unfortunately as sometimes happens, their misbehavior got in the way and it was early to bed with no family movie night.
This didn't stop my wife and I from watching this movie though and we both enjoyed it.
Yes its fairly cliche--The father is left to take care of his two kids by the death of his wife, he's having trouble connecting with his teenage son, the younger daughter is a sweet ball of precocious energy, there is a cute blond who works at the zoo he buys for him to fall in love with, etc., etc.
What makes it enjoyable is Damon's work which is never too schmaltzy and just touching enough to make you feel bad for him without going over the top.
Cameron Crowe's work is also very good with excellent choices in music and solid direction. He could have easily fallen into the husband falls into bed with new woman storyline but never does. In fact their relationship remains decidedly non physical throughout.
Based on a true story that occurred in England this story is an excellent family film appropriate for all ages and should entertain virtually anyone. It won't blow you away, make you cry or get your heart racing, but it is good, clean fun and sometimes we need that too.