"Stuck In Love" (2013 release; 96 min.) brings the story of the Borgens family. As the movie opens, we see Bill Borgens (played by Greg Kinnear) secretly looking inside the house of his ex-wife Erica (played by Jennifer Connelly), who left him a few years ago to marry a younger guy. We learn that Bill still isn't over Erica, and is "stuck in love". We also meet their daughter Sam (played by Lily Collins), a college student who somehow managed to publish a novel with a major publishing house, and hence following in the footsteps of her dad. Sam is all tough on the outside when it comes to love and relationships. Then there is their son Rusty, a HS kid who also aspires to become a writer and who has a crush on Kate, a seemingly unavailable girl in his class. Lastly, we get to know Tricia (played by Kirsten Bell), Bill's occasional girlfriend, and who is trying to coach Bill back into the dating scene. Will Bill and Erica get back together again? or will Bill find success in the dating scene? or both? will Rusty win the love of Kate? and what about the toughness of Sam? To tell you more would ruin your viewing pleasure of this plot-heavy movie, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the feature debut of writer-director Josh Boone, who brings us a pleasant rom-com, even if at times it's played too safe in my opinion. In fact, the film stands out for me for the acting performances. I almost always enjoy Greg Kinnear, and likewise for Jennifer Connelly, and I did here again. But the bigger surprise here is Lily Collins (daughter of Genesis singer Phil Collins). When she makes her first appearance in the movie, I thought for a second or two "wow, Jennifer Connelly looks so young!", only to then realize it was not Connelly, but Collins does in fact looks like a replica of Connelly 20 years ago. And it's not just the looks, as Collins carries a big part of the movie on her shoulders, and with ease. We surely have not seen the last of her (she also stars in the upcoming "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones"). Last but certainly not least, the film features a great soundtrack of indie music, scored by Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott (from Bright Eyes), with some new songs and also a few older from Bright Eyes and others (at one point one of the HS kids gives a Bright Eyes CD as a Christmas gift--do teenagers really still buy CDs?).
Bottom line: take this movie for what it is: a pleasant rom-com that is as utterly predictable (as to the plot) as it is enjoyable (as to the performances). This film showed up at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati in late July without any pre-release hype or advertising. I figured this won't play very long so I went to see it right away. The screening that I attended was attended okay, but certainly was not packed. If you find yourself in the mood at some point for a lighter and pleasant film where you don't get challenged whatsoever and all the work is being done for you on the screen, go ahead and check out "Stuck In Love", be it in the theatre or on DVD.
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