My suspicion is that it is a lot better for the moviegoer not to have read Mordecai Richler's 1997 novel Barney's Version if you're going to enjoy Michael Konyves' version on the silver screen. This was a deep, multi-layered novel covering 40 years of a complex man's life, crammed into 132 minutes and, frankly, I enjoyed every one of them. I didn't read the book.
Paul Giamatti, as Barney Panovsky, is, as always, just about perfect and he is ably supported by Dustin Hoffman as his beat cop, Jewish dad and three wives played in succession by Rachelle Lefevre, Minnie Driver and the lovely Rosamund Pike. You'll note that I say Ms. Pike is "the lovely," ignoring that description for Ms. Driver, whom I've been in love with for 15 years. Says something about Ms. Pike, I think.
Anyhow, it's a fun, involving, loving and touching movie that I truly liked and didn't expect. Nice treat for a pretty spring-like evening in mid-February.