You covered a lot of what we discussed. :) The film surprised me in many good ways. It was much more enjoyable than I anticipated and it's a movie I could easily watch again (even if the awesome, gratuitous shirtless scenes were not included ;). And while we know Jamie would get to show off his comedic talents, he and the film far exceeded my expectations. We've all discussed our concerns with David E Kelly being at the helm of Monday Mornings, but now part of me is really looking forward to how Jamie will handle any potential wackiness. :)
One of my favorite non-Jamie bits in the movie was Bernard's use of a translator.....even though he's lived in the UK for thirty years. This is a man very much use to things being done his way. It made me wonder if he would have been prepared for the reality a raising a child. As a recent widower with no immediate family, it's understandable he's looking back with regret. But is it easier for him to deal with an adult child?
I agree with your issues with the actor originally hired to play Chloe's father, but I was equally disturbed by Bernard's actions. The guy could have been killed. It just seemed so out of place in the film. There had to be another way to get rid of him.
Once we learned Gus new about Bernard for, well, ever I was surprised he didn't put two and two together early on. Yes, Bernard isn't exactly an uncommon name, but given the situation and Bernard's behavior, I would buy Gus making the connection. Especially when we see Chloe connect the new menu plus medication together with her father within seconds.
Stephen and Gus bonding was a highlight of the film for me. Stephen had a horrible relationship with his own father, believed he was failing miserably at connecting with his future father-in-law and, suddenly, in a few moments time, he's finding the relationship with a father figure he's longed for.
The film was supposed to be more of a 'buddy comedy' with the two men coming to terms with each other and their place in Chloe's life. At the same time, it sets a backdrop for Stephen and Chloe's issues – longing for a father/child relationship they never had. (This possibly being one reason they were drawn to each other. I know sharing issues with my family has brought me closer to people. ;) AND if I recall correctly, Stephen is loosely based on Andre Agassi and both he and his wife Steffi Graf shared difficult relationships with their fathers.) Yet I still wanted more of the love story and see why Chloe and Stephen were in love. Not being sure of how the two arrived at the point of marriage, coupled with Chloe's perfect wedding obsession (to the point of hiring an actor to play her father), led me to spend most of the movie going, “SHE'S NOT WORTHY OF YOU, STEPHEN!"
At one point, I thought perhaps the film was going for Cinderella angle. Stephen meets her at a ball, they part that night, she turns up at his match the next day, he spots her in the stands.....but that idea got dropped. :/
Like you, the age difference in and of itself isn't a huge problem for me (Though I didn't buy Olivia being 25. 28 or 29 Maybe. And Jamie could have played a few years younger than his age.). But given the lack of a strong reason for the two being together it became a bigger problem. If it was their painful histories that drew them together initially, then at least have them say it. Another way to show a connection was to give give Chloe a strong musical background since Olivia is a singer and she's encouraging Stephen to take up the clarinet again, which was an early passion of his.
One final random thought: If Marilyn's hand print was really on the glass, there would have been a second piece of glass over it! Sorry, the former framer in me was REALLY bugged by that. ;p