Yet another slackers-are-us romantic comedy, "Beautiful Girls" is a routine entry in the genre, with nothing in particular to recommend it, aside from an attractive cast.
The nominal lead is Timothy Hutton, as an aspiring New York pianist who returns to his small hometown in Massachusetts, ostensibly to attend his 10-year high school reunion.
In truth, however, he is at a crossroads and hopes that going home will bring him some answers. In his late 20s and in a serious relationship with a Manhattan lawyer (Annabeth Gish), Hutton feels he should be thinking of marriage. But instead, he's wondering if freedom isn't better.
So, he hooks up with his old high-school buddies, one who is married and has a steady job (Noah Emmerich) and three others who are part-time construction workers, plowing snow during the winter (Matt Dillon, Michael Rapaport and Max Perlich).
Meanwhile, Dillon can't commit to his devoted girlfriend (Mira Sorvino) because he's still having an affair with his high-school sweetheart (Lauren Holly), who is married and has a child. And because Rapaport wouldn't commit to his girlfriend (Martha Plimpton), she has left him - and he's been having tantrums ever since (with each new snow he piles it up in front of her garage door).
Uma Thurman soon enters the scene as the cousin of another of Hutton's buddies, and both Hutton and Rapaport take her out - but she's committed to someone else.
Then there's young Natalie Portman, the 13-year-old who lives next-door to Hutton's father. She's wiser than her years and certainly smarter than most of the women Hutton has dated, and, of course, she has a crush on him. Hutton's big-brother relationship with her is without question the film's warmest element (and Portman is a charming young actress to watch for).
And overseeing all of this is foul-mouthed Rosie O'Donnell as the says-it-like-it-is beautician. (O'Donnell and Portman are sort of two sides of a Greek chorus, commenting on the characters mach-inations.)
Some of these vignettes work better than others, but some of the players truly get short-shrift - especially Plimpton, who deserves better.
"Beautiful Girls" is rated R for continual foul language, and at one point some photos in a Penthouse magazine are briefly shown.