Bill (Greg Kinnear) is so convinced that Erica (Jennifer Connelly) will come back that he sets a plate out for her every Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, daughter Sam (Lily Collins) is prepped to have a book published by Scribner and son Rusty (Nat Wolff) fills his journals with romantic poetry. Everybody is unhappy, either because there’s something missing or they’re unable to see what’s in front of them.
Stuck in Love is the directorial debut of Josh Boone (2014’s The Fault in Our Stars). It is filled with characters who aren’t as complex as we’re led to believe and, especially Sam, tend to speak in quotes that are supposed to sound deep but come off with a heavy whiff of pretension.
The script, also by Boone, comes off like something written by a sophomore screenwriting student. There’s a piece of dialogue that Bill says to Rusty that suggests how the right line can suck the reader in. Throughout Stuck in Love, it feels like Boone is trying to find that line that will keep viewers watching; but all of the advice and insights that these characters give come off terribly thin. At its worst, the script openly name-drops and quotes everyone from Hemingway and Vonnegut to Leonard and Cleary (there’s even a cameo by Stephen King) in some sort of attempt by Boone to let us know that he’s been to a library and has taken introductory literature courses.
Problems aside, Stuck in Love is not an unwatchable effort. First, the soundtrack is a strong one that includes the likes of Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. More standout is the entire cast (which also includes Logan Lerman, Liana Liberato and the always charming Kristen Bell), which deserves a table at next year’s Independent Spirit Awards.
The Making of Stuck in Love (27:42): Boone, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Wolff, and more discuss the story, themes and characters of Stuck in Love.