The effects of variable viscosity and thermal conductivity on the flow and heat transfer in a laminar liquid film on a horizontal shrinking/stretching sheet are analyzed. The similarity transformation reduces the time independent boundary layer equations for momentum and thermal energy into a set of coupled ordinary differential equations. The resulting five-parameter problem is solved by the homotopy perturbation method. The results are presented graphically to interpret various physical parameters appearing in the problem. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.