Just hearing Julia Roberts talk dirty was enough to recommend this film.
After viewing, I'm left wondering which character is the most reprehensible. Clive Owen's (he should be the next James Bond) character was a manipulative brute, but at least he was honest. Jude Law as the hopeless romantic seeking total honesty from everyone but himself was the most devastated by the whole mess. Natalie Portman's stripper with the heart of gold finally stood up for herself at the end. Excellent choice of roles for her. After seeing her in this film, it's hard to say she will be typecast as the "Senator Amidala" character for the rest of her career.
Despite all this, the Julia Roberts character was the most reprehensible. She could not decide what she wanted and thus ended up stuck in a marriage she never wanted. The final scene of her rolling over in bed with the look of resignation on her face was the perfect ending for this cynical film. Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" was a great choice to bookend the film.
Some strange stylistic choices by Nichols. At several points in the film, time jumps dramatically and the view is left to infer this from the dialogue. I guess this was left over from the original stage production. You also rarely see a film with no minor characters. With a couple of brief exceptions, the four main characters are the only ones who speak. Again, I guess this is left over from the stage production (probably just a four person show).
The film was a great alternative to sappy summer romance films. It could have been titled When Harry Screwed Around too Much and Sally became a Stripper.