Director: Josh Boone
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connolly, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell, Nat Wolff
Written by: Josh Boone
Running Time: 97 mins
Release date: 14th June 2013
Stuck In Love is one of those off-beat, quirky independent romantic comedy dramas that are full of characters and situations you would only find in off-beat, quirky independent romantic comedy dramas. Perfectly fine while you are watching it but instantly forgettable and you do start thinking about it, you realise that you are thinking of another, similar film altogether.
William Borgens is a writer who is pining for his wife. She left him for a younger man, leaving him in a state of despair. He stalks her, hoping that she will see the error of her ways and come back. He even leaves a place out for her at the dinner table on Thanksgiving. Most days he is joined by a local married woman, Tricia, for a quick hour of uncomplicated sex but this isn’t satisfactory for him at all as he wants Erica. His daughter, Samantha, has a different view of love. She doesn’t want a relationship, just a one-night stand with men who don’t care about anything but sex. She fears commitment and when she meets Lou, a really kind and thoughtful young man, she wants nothing to do with him. As she has a book being published, she finds herself torn between success and the man who could be of her dreams. Finally there is Rusty, the young son of William. He, too, is a writer, creating short stories but longing for a girl in his class at school. When they get together, he soon discovers she has problems.
There is absolutely nothing seriously wrong with the acting, directing or writing. it’s just that we’ve seen this kind of film so often, they do start to merge into one another. Is this The Perks Of Being A Wallflower? Or Stupid. Crazy. Love? The other problem is nothing comes across as believable. if you are going to connect to a film like this, it must come across as real.
So we have a writer who lives in an impossibly beautiful house overlooking the ocean, who sits around doing very little writing and then gets to sleep with an impossibly attractive woman every day, who is nearly perfect, has a family of two bright, intelligent children who, apart from their quirks, are perfect. Yet he is riddled with remorse because he still loves his perfect looking wife.
Then we have the perfect daughter who is pretty and talented who writes a book that has been snapped up, without really trying too hard, for publication, who has one-night stands with, what she considers, are men in a lower IQ bracket than herself, yet is struggling to cope because she resents her mother and dealing with a perfectly nice boy who likes her.
The son, Rusty, is a perfectly nice boy besotted by a perfectly pretty girl who has a drug and drink problem. Okay, so things aren’t perfect yet Stephen King reads one of his stories, loves it and calls him up to tell him. Perfect.
The question then is: can you male a movie about a perfect family with love problems? Well, you can and it’s all pleasant enough but rather empty at the same time. You can see it wants to be like other films like it but it does lack that one element…warmth and characters you really care for. I didn’t. Maybe because their lives are so perfect I couldn’t understand what their problems are.
It’s certainly not the fault of the actors. They are all perfectly fine playing perfectly perfect people. Greg Kinnear has made a career out of these nice yet quirky characters and Jennifer Connolly, playing his ex-wife, Erica, is always good value and I always think we should see her in more films with meatier roles. Lily Collins finally proves she can act as daughter Samantha (and her eyebrows don’t get in the way).
I sound like I am really bad-mouthing this film. It’s not a terrible film at all. It passes the time nicely and it doesn’t rely on you having deep thoughts or coming out with your fingers in your ears because it’s too loud. It’s just not that original and not that real. It serves its purpose. Acceptable but nothing more than that.