Nights works so strenuously to satisfy its target audience's every desire that it's a minor surprise that the filmmakers didn't provide cashmere blankets, a snuggly pair of slippers, and a warm cup of cocoa for everyone entering the theater. Based on sap-master Nicholas Sparks' novel, Nights introduces us to Adrienne (Diane Lane), an overworked mother separated from her no-good husband who decides to take a mini-vacation by running her friend's North Carolina beachfront inn for a few days. Her only guest is Paul (Richard Gere), a divorced plastic surgeon who also needs a break from his life. What follows is absolutely exactly what you think is going to happen every step of the way, with Lane doing her standard feisty-mature-hottie routine and Gere in sensitive-heartthrob mode. The feature directorial debut of theater veteran George C. Wolfe (Angels in America), Nights exhibits a certain amount of integrity in its dedication to being uncomplicated, unashamed romantic goo, but after a while its self-serious celebration of middle-aged ennui redeemed by screwing a handsome stranger with a full head of hair can't help but inspire a couple of cynical chuckles. Still, don't be surprised if your mom loves it.
Gere and Lane say it's never too late to love.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Sept. 26. Rated PG-13. 97 minutes.