Sunday, June 23, 2013

“Stuck In Love” – Movie Review



This weekend in my movie class, we saw a bonus screening of the new romantic-comedy/drama, “Stuck In Love”, starring Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly.


When a divorced writer tries to win back his ex-wife, his efforts appear thwarted when complications develop with their teenage children – but can they still reunite even if they somehow manage to overcome these difficulties?


Despite being an award-winning novelist, Bill (Kinnear) has been dolefully unhappy with his life for the last couple of years since his wife Erica (Connelly) divorced him.  So desperate is he that every Thanksgiving, he reserves a place for her at his dinner table even though his teenaged children Samantha (Lily Collins) and her younger brother Rusty (Nat Wolff) both know she will never show up.  Undeterred, Bill remains hopeful that someday Erica will eventually come to her senses and eventually return to him one day. 

Both Sam and Rusty are trying to follow in their noted father’s footsteps by pursuing a writing career.  Sam, however, seems to have an advantage on her younger brother – not just by virtue of the fact that she’s a college sophomore while he’s still stuck in high school, but because she’s just had her first novel published.  Considering herself very much the literary intellectual, Sam looks condescendingly upon Rusty’s main influence – the commercially successful Stephen King.  She also appears to be a step ahead of him in another regard:  she leads a rather promiscuous lifestyle while he’s still a virgin. 

Suddenly, Sam and Rusty soon find themselves entangled in their own romantic relationships – she with a fellow student whose mother is dying of a brain tumor and he with a classmate who has a most severe substance abuse problem.  Although both Sam and Rusty appear to be on good terms with their father, Sam resents her mother for dumping him and refuses to speak to her.  When Erica implores Bill to help her reconcile with their daughter, he sees this as an opportunity to get Erica back in his life as well – but when both offspring wind up encountering romantic conflicts of their own, will this prevent Bill and Erica from restoring their family unit? 


In many movie reviews, the word “confection” is frequently used to describe films such as “Stuck In Love” – however, when pulled out of context, it may be difficult to ascertain whether or not it is being used in the pejorative form.  Without a doubt, “Stuck In Love” is most definitely a confection – but whether or not you buy into some of the dramatic conceits may determine your interpreting this term as an insult or not.  While the cast’s performances do frequently rise above the material, painfully obvious convenient moments dropping in merely to move the story forward might be what some would consider “cringeworthy”.      

Gorgeous Kristin Bell seems to try to make the most of what appears to be a throw-away role of Tricia, Bill’s f*-buddy, who ultimately plays something of a cheerleader in trying to get him out of his romantic lethargy.  More striking to me was Lily Collins, who seemed in this movie to be the spitting image of Connelly – although she sometimes comes across more like Erica’s younger sister than her adolescent daughter.  Ultimately, the failure of “Stuck In Love” also comes in the difficulty of being able to root for its protagonist, Bill, who seems to be narcissistically trying to push both of his children into his own profession simply in order to validate his own life – perhaps its source being a mid-life crisis arising from the divorce, but the film never explores this. 

Should you see this movie?  Well, my misgivings aside, it’s not a complete waste of time – the gentle humor skews towards weak jokes, so don’t expect anything about “Stuck In Love” to be a cutting edge comedy.  If something comfortable, familiar and unchallenging is what you crave, then this might just be your film.  This is more of an airplane movie than something you want to run out to theaters and stand on line to see; should it show up on cable during one rainy day, “Stuck In Love” would probably be as good a choice as just about anything else. 

Stuck in Love (2012) on IMDb 6.8/10526 votes


No comments:

Post a Comment

Speak Your Piece, Beeyotch!