I loved this movie a lot. Paul Giamatti, who plays the title role, is spot on. Dustin Hoffman plays his father and he's great too. Actually, he's perfect. Gap-toothed and perfect. A quotable: "Marriage is like pushing an avocado through a cheese grater. All of a sudden, it feels like you're holding a pile of shit."
As you surely know if you are Canadian and surely don't if you're not, Barney's Version is based on a book of the same name by the much-beloved Canadian author Mordecai Richler. I have absolutely no doubt that many people will tell you the book is better than the movie, since that is the sort of thing people love to say. But I will not be saying it, since the book has no pictures and apparently cannot be read in 132 minutes.
Anyway, the movie (and probably also the book) tells the story of Barney Panofsky's life in flashback. Barney Panofsky is a total fat scumbag who is a little too much of an asshole to be a loveable jerk and is thrice divorced. He has an outrageous, wildly gesticulating, sex-addicted father, and also killed a man. Or maybe not. There's the investigator's version of that alleged crime but, of course, what you are about to see is Barney's version.
There was one scene I didn't like. It's the scene where Barney first meets his third wife and great love. She tells him a little tale about the founding of Monte Cristo cigars, and how the workers used to tell the story about the count of that name to help the time pass. I'm pretty sure we are all supposed to think this is as fascinating as Barney clearly does, since he is instantly smitten. But the thing is, I too know a number of anecdotes of that approximate vintage, because I spend practically the whole day looking up random shit on Wikipedia. And I can tell you that guys don't go for anecdote-tellers. If anyone actually thinks I'm wrong about this, please let me know and I'll keep telling the one about how Sesame Street was modeled after Brooklyn Heights and in the first season, Oscar the Grouch was orange.
What I'm trying to say is that the scene isn't believable. But the rest of the movie is great, so go see it anyway.