Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Movie Review: Stuck In Love

I stumbled upon Stuck In Love on Netflix. I was skeptical of the name, it sounded like one of those cheeseball romantic comedies from the mid 2000's starring Mark Ruffalo. Turns out its working title was "Writers" which makes a hell of a lot more sense, considering it is about a family of, you guessed it, writers.  Once I saw the cast consisted of Greg Kinnear, an old favorite Jennifer Connelly, a new favorite Kristen Bell and the excellent Logan Lerman, I was sold.

In sum, Greg Kinnear is a divorced father who refused to believe that his wife(Connelly) isn't coming back to him.  He snoops around her house and still sets a place for her at the table. Literally everyone he knows thinks he's a starry eyed idealist that does not live in reality. His son is one of those quiet high school kids that wastes his prolific mind pining after a girl he will never actually make a move on and his daughter is, a philosophical college student who sleeps around to avoid getting attached to anyone.

Eventually, because this is the movies and things have to happen, all the characters are forced out of their comfort zone.  Kinnear begins to start living again(all the while holding out hope his wife will come back), and implores his son to start living in general.  His daughter, Sam, meets a guy who slowly pulls her out of her cocoon (Earnestly taking care of your sick mother is a great way to pick up girls).  In much the same way as "White" "Crazy Stupid Love and "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", the main character, although wounded, slowly starts taking initiative in his life and moving on and then, unintentionally starts to gain the affection that they are moving on from.  It's an old, but underutilized and rarely well executed story line that Stuck In Love, as well as the other three, nails.

The acting is amazing. Kinnear is exceedingly likable, and a lesser actor with a worse script would have made his character a moping misanthrope. Jennifer Connelly is one of those people that can show shyness, confidence, vulnerability, pain and happiness in a single smile.

The movie isn't revolutionary, and it isn't required viewing. But it is an honest movie about relationships and people.  In the end, you find out that Kinnear's character has been living in reality the entire time. And there are multiple references to Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", which in itself wins my approval.

One last thing, ever since Juno came out with that iconic, kickass indie movie soundtrack. Every single independent movie tries to fill their movies with unknown artists playing pensive, simplistic, one instrument, mildly ironic songs to the point of irritation.  Stuck In Love does this also, but actually succeeds to the point that you don't realize how cliche the soundtrack is. So, another tip of the cap.

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