The movie begins with a voice over of a Jewish story by our main character, April Epner (Helen Hunt). With the voice over, there is a Jewish wedding was taking place. April and her to-be-husband, Ben (Matthew Broderick) recite their vows in Hebrew and are soon hitched.
We cut to the next scene. April and her brother, Freddy (Ben Shenkman) are with their dying mother (or April’s foster mother) who is confined in the hospital. April tells her family that she wants to have a baby and that she’s been trying for 10 months. Her foster mother suggests that she should just adopt then have a baby of her own. April wants to have a child that’s “really hers” because she doesn’t want her baby to experience what she has gone through as an adopted child.
April arrives home with her husband wanting to talk. He tells her that he made a mistake about marrying her. He just hopes to be friends. From their conversation, we find out that they are both teachers. After hugging, they end up staring into each other’s eyes and doing the inevitable: break-up sex on the kitchen floor. Finally, he leaves her for good.
April goes to school the following morning and finds that her ex-husband resigned. She is left with an over-sized class of preschoolers. At this point, she meets a parent of her one of her students, Frank (Colin Firth). She asks her co-teacher to watch the class as she goes outside to think. Frank approaches her and attempts to show her some sympathy but she mistook it for flirting.
She goes to her brother’s house and catches him with another girl. April goes home and says a little bit too soon “its not going to get any worse than this”. But as expected, it does get worse. They’re shown in her foster mother’s funeral in the next scene.
When she arrives in school, she meets a gentleman who asks for directions. Later, the gentleman reveals his identity and tells her that she knows who her (celebrity) biological mother is. He hands her a letter so that she could consider meeting up with her. From the letter, we find out that April’s birth name was Gabrielle and that her mother, Bernice wants to meet up with her for lunch the following day.
April goes to the restaurant the following day and meets up with Bernice (Bette Midler). April tries to ask Bernice questions about her past but she doesn’t answer the questions. To April’s frustration, she leaves the restaurant. Bernice walks after her and asks her if she wants to know who her “famous father now dead” was. Bernice reveals that she met her father, Steve McQueen when she was 15 and had a one-night stand. After a mother-daughter banter, April asks her one more time as to why she gave her up for adoption. Bernice replies that her father took her away 3 days after birth. April, being skeptical about it, decides that she should go home and think about it first.
April goes to school and finds one of Frank’s kids throwing a tantrum. She helps him out and sits down next to him. She apologizes for snapping at him before giving an update of his son. They get to the topic of his wife and April finds out that he’s also separated from his wife. He ends up complimenting her, despite her negative image of herself as a “39 and a half year old who has never been pregnant”. When her stomach growls, she invites him for dinner but he tells her that he doesn’t want to go out on dates yet. A few seconds later, he comes back and accepts her offer.
As they eat in the park, Frank opens up about his marriage and his cheating wife. April tells him about his mother and Steve McQueen. He suggests that if she really wants to find out if Bernice is her mother, she should have a DNA test. Both of them are attracted to one another but they part for the evening. He tells her that he’ll call her when he gets home, which he does.
April visits her Bernice on the set and gets a tour of the place. They start playing an “I’ll say something about me and then you say something about you” game. When April blurts out her upcoming divorce, Bernice gets overly enthusiastic/motherly that makes her feel uncomfortable. April gets up and hugs Bernice while simultaneously plucks one of her hair strands for the DNA test.
Frank and April see each other in school. They agree that they should not see each other in school to keep their relationship private. Frank also gives her a file, which shows that Steve McQueen is not her father. She leaves Bernice an angry message about lying to her. Moments later, her brother also calls and informs her that Bernice really is her mother.
Bernice and April meet up in the park where Bernice tells her the truth. April finds out that her father was a Ukrainian boy. April tries to get away from Bernice but she follows her. Bernice says that she’s begging on her knees for a chance to get to know each other. April waits for her literally beg on her knees before she accepts (hence the poster image).
April asks Frank to accompany her to Bernice’s party. She tells him that she is relieved that he’s there. He tells her that he loves talking to her and he’s moved that she’s trying to work things through with her mom. After that moving speech, a call from her ex-husband interrupts the moment. He tells her that he misses her so much and wants to be friends with her. Frank overhears her phone call and get jealous and upset. He tells her that if she’s not over her ex yet, he’s ok with it just as long as she tells him. She quickly replies that she is over him and he’ll just have to trust her on it. They share a good night kiss on her porch and she invites him in. He tells her that he needs to get back home to his kids. They end up sleeping together in house.
She wakes up from a phone call from Bernice and finds herself alone in the bed. She sees Frank sleeping in his kid’s room. She cuddles right next to him and tells her that he’s falling in love with her. A few hours later, his crying daughter wakes them up. Frank asks his son to look for the flashlight to check her ears. April comes out from her hiding place and Frank explains to his children that they had a sleepover. April goes to the bathroom unsuccessfully tries to put her bra. She realizes that her breasts grew bigger and takes the hint that she’s pregnant.
After a pregnancy test with Bernice, they find out for sure that she’s pregnant. April and Bernice have a bonding moment in the bathroom. April informs her ex-husband of her pregnancy and leaves him the choice if he wants to participate in taking care of the baby. She tells Frank of her pregnancy but also that she wants to be with him.
The three of them, April, Ben and Frank see the gynecologist (played by author Salman Rushdie) for her first ultrasound. Ben walks her to her car and they have a make out session in the backseat. He leaves his orange cap behind (important) and leaves.
April seeks advise from her mom. She feels guilty for almost cheating on Frank with her ex and is afraid that she might have blown her chance of having a good relationship with him.
In the studio, her mom leaves her in the editing room where she watches a video of Bernice saying to the pubic that the years she was with the child were the scariest and darkest part of her life. She basically said that having a baby ruined her life.
She goes to her brother’s place where Bernice follows her there. Bernice confesses of her past that she was very lost and was turned away by her father.
April calls her ex. They both agree that they shouldn’t continue their relationship anymore. She goes to Frank’s place where he finds Ben’s orange cap in the car. He storms out for a walk but she follows right behind him. He gives her a piece of his mind and walks out.
The next scene shifts to the gynecologist’s office. In the ultrasound, the doctor breaks the news that he can’t hear/find a heartbeat.
April has dinner with Freddie. He suggests that she should just adopt a baby. He tells her that she doesn’t know what it feels like not being adopted. He says its exhausting and embarrassing.
Bernice is waiting for April from inside her car. April says that she wants to forgive her but she can’t seem to. Freddie suggests that she should make Bernice buy her something to make it up to her, thus giving her the idea of artificial insemination. April visits Bernice in her studio with her proposal: she should and would fund and help April with the whole process.
They find the perfect sperm donor and the injections begin. A few weeks later, both of them go to the doctor for her ultrasound (though they don’t disclose the results).
April waits for Frank in front of his house. She tells him that she wants to be with him even if it would involve hurting each other.
The movie ends with the same Jewish story Alice was telling at the beginning of the movie. This time, she’s with Bernice, Freddie and his sons, and her daughter.
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