What Love Is is a sincere, insightful and unapologetically frank romantic comedy about a man who finds out, during the course of one very important night in his life, what love truly is.|
The story opens on Tom Riley (Cuba Gooding Jr.) as he nervously has one drink at his neighborhood bar in order to steady himself before he heads home to ask his long-time girlfriend, Sara (Victoria Pratt), if she will marry him. It's Valentine's Day and he's got the ring, he's got the flowers, and now that he has his one drink, he's got the courage. He tells his group of best friends at the bar to meet him at his house for a surprise celebration in half an hour and then he grabs a bottle of champagne and heads home.
Tom pulls his car into the driveway, opens the front door to his house, turns on the light and...CRASH...we hear the bottle of champagne shatter on the floor. For when Tom looks around his apartment, he sees that all of Sara's things have been cleared out and there is a Dear John letter waiting for him on the mantel. Two suitcases sit by the front door, and the phone rings. Tom answers it. It's Sara. She tells him that she's leaving him and that the two suitcases by the front door are the last of her things that she couldn't fit in her car and that she's on her way over to pick them up right now. She tells Tom that she doesn't want to talk about it, that she doesn't want any drama, and that she just wants to get her things and she wants to go. "Are you going to be there?" she says. Tom pauses, hit by a ton of bricks and not knowing what to say... "Uh...yeah...I've got half the bar comin' over to help us celebrate Valentine's Day...yeah, I'll be here." "Good, I'll see you in a minute." And Sara hangs up. And so our story begins.
Sara is on her way over, and Tom has got to figure out how to get Sara back. Only now, one by one Tom's friends from the bar start showing up thinking it's a Valentine's Day cocktail party at Tom's house! First, Sal (Matthew Lillard), the womanizing, wanna-be gangster shows up, then Ken (Mars Callahan), the married neighbor, who lives upstairs, then Wayne (Andrew Daly), Tom's flamboyantly gay childhood friend, and finally George (Sean Astin), the earthy, tree-hugging hippie. Each one has a different take on what Tom should do when Sara arrives and each one has a different approach on what he should say.
As more and more testosterone flows and more and more alcohol is consumed these five men work themselves up into such a frenzy that finally when there is a knock on the door nobody knows what to do! "Oh my God, it's Sara!" Everyone freezes except Tom, who is forced to gather up his courage once again and open the front door to confront Sara...only it's not Sara...it's five drop dead gorgeous women standing in his doorway and asking him..."Is this where the Valentine's party is?" (Apparently, Sal invited some women from back at the bar to join the party!) And now that the women are there, it's their turn to chime in. Because once these five women find out about Tom's situation, they all can't help but get involved and start to put in their two cents about what he should do and how he should handle things when Sara gets there.
The men and the women argue, they flirt, they laugh, they hook up and they storm out, but through all this and these many contrasting opinions and perspectives on relationships, love, marriage, romance and the madness that surrounds us all when it comes to members of the opposite sex, Tom discovers what he was supposed to learn on this fateful night...what love truly is...just as Sara walks through the door. When Sara gets there everyone files out very quickly leaving Tom alone with her...and what Tom says to Sara in that final moment will not only go down as one of the all-time classic moments in filmmaking history, but it will not leave a single dry eye in the house.