The comedy is very unsubtle, and huge swathes of screen-time are given over to Fred Willard as a presenter on a dumb entertainment TV show - funny, yes, but not funny enough to justify the vast amount of time he is given.
The film's jigsaw construction initially lends an air of freshness and unpredictability, but as the film moves forward the lack of any overarching thematic structure or emotional dynamism becomes a problem.
Absence of Malice does not invalidate All the President's Men. But with entertainment values -- and a moral sense -- every bit as high as that film's, it observes that there is an underside to journalistic gallantry.
Here is a romcom that has been developed on a Petri dish in some unspeakable secret department at the Porton Down biological warfare unit, designed to release a gaseous vapour into cinemas, rendering the civilian population immobile.