Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) has a mission. Every month she starts a new relationship, helps the man become a better person and then moves on. November rolls around, and this time its Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) who hopes to woo her for good. But he doesn't know the secret behind Sara's romances.
Based on a 1968 film of the same name starring Sandy Dennis and Anthony Newley, this update of that tearjerking melodrama stars Keanu Reeves as Nelson Moss, a workaholic with no time for anything but the bottom line. One day he meets Sara Deever (Charlize Theron), an eccentric bohemian who has a habit of taking lovers in monthly installments and transforming them into better men. Slowly, she coaxes the reluctant Nelson into her life and eventually into her heart, where his lifelong issues with intimacy are overcome within a matter of weeks. By this time, they've fallen hard for each other, but all is not well with the seemingly perky Sara. She's got her own big secret, and she's not telling.
What makes this film watchable is the undeniably sexy on-screen chemistry between Reeves and Theron, not to mention the fact that both are so darn pretty. Keanu is just Keanu -- he's fine, except for some moments where you think he's gonna break out in surferspeak à la "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." Theron's performance as the happy-on-the-outside-but-troubled-on-the-inside Sara is convincing and even. Supporting actor Jason Isaacs ("The Patriot") as Sara's drag queen best friend is a bit contrived. Greg Germann's ("Ally McBeal") turn as Nelson's buddy Vince is equally annoying, and you start to question whether TV actors should ever venture outside of their medium.
Director Paul O'Connor ("Circle of Friends") handles this silly romantic drama deftly and efficiently; the film will serve its target audiences very well. Although predictable as heck, Reeves' and Theron's on-screen chemistry help make the trip to the theater worthwhile. Their quirky romance is fun to watch, especially since it's obvious that the two actors have a genuine fondness for one another. At times the hankie factor is over the top, but fortunately O'Connor never lets it go on for too long. Scenes containing cute puppies, Enya's swooning melodies and romps on the beach don't hurt -- as long as this kind of romance movie is your cup of tea.
With its schmaltzy premise and somewhat predictable outcome, "Sweet November" is an average film that delivers nothing unique, but is entertaining nonetheless.