Review: Stuck In Love
PLOT: Novelist Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is reeling from his recent separation from wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly), who left him for a younger man. Meanwhile, his two children deal with their own affairs of the heart. His daughter Sam (Lily Collins) drifts from one meaningless sex encounter to another, until, one the eve of her first novel's publication, she meets a kindly classmate, Lou (Logan Lerman). At the same time, his son Rusty (Nat Wolfe) falls head-over-heels for his high-school classmate Kate (Liana Liberato), a beauty with a drug problem and a knack for self destruction.
REVIEW: STUCK IN LOVE is another middle-of-the-road indie with lots of good performances, but little else about it that's terribly memorable. Every year there's a slew of these indie dramas, usually focused on the lives and loves of a group of well-to-do suburbanites, and STUCK IN LOVE is another in that popular genre, although it's far from one of the more memorable recent examples. For a movie like this to really succeed there has to be something about it that really distinguishes it from the others. STUCK IN LOVE has a few good performances, but otherwise it feels a little tepid and familiar (right down to a sensitive soundtrack that predictably pulls out an Elliot Smith song once the tone turns “thoughtful”).
By making the protagonists all so talented and successful, writer-director Josh Boone has already made them a little difficult to empathize with. Kinnear's character isn't the first man who's wife left him in the midst of a mid-life crisis, but at least he has his own talent and two adoring kids to comfort him. But everyone's so angst-ridden that the film really becomes a movie about “rich people's problems” and as such it's a bit tiresome, even if Kinnear is, as always, a naturally likable guy, and makes the film more palatable than it would have been otherwise.
His kids are a mixed bag. Lily Collins does well as the daughter Sam, but the character is very difficult to like, with her affected promiscuity and faux-angst, although she's supposed to be so brilliant that she's already got a book on the way. Her romance with the kindly, thoughtful Lou rings false, as does his pursuit of her. Nat Wolfe fares a bit better as the youngest child, with his romance of the drug-addled Kate being the one part of the movie that really works and has any weight. The way their romance eventually wraps up is predictably disastrous, but at least it gives the film a little energy and conflict.
I hate being too down on an indie like STUCK IN LOVE as we totally could use some good, intelligent counter-programming to a summer filled with larger-than-life action movies. Too bad this is so bland, although Kinnear's always worth watching, and the film also gets a quick boost by Kristen Bell as his “friend with benefits” neighbour (lucky guy). This certainly isn't a “bad” movie, but it's nothing worth going out of your way for.