Fans of sprightly, introspective indie-comedies would probably look at Josh Boone’s directorial debut, Stuck In Love, and think it covers all the right bases. Dysfunctional families – yep, the right mix of young and older cast to cover a wide age range – check, a suitably melancholy indie soundtrack – present! So why does the sum of these parts feel so…familiar.
Partly because nearly everything in the film has been better covered in similar movies before. If you’ve seen the genuinely funny Crazy, Stupid Love or the delightfully nostalgic The Way, Way Back then you may be wishing you could erase the mundane mediocrity of Stuck In Love minutes after the closing credits and go back to those for comfort.
Respected novelist William Borgens (Greg Kinnear) spends his days sleeping with his neighbour while spying at night on his ex Erica, (Jennifer Connelly), at her new hunkier lover’s pad. His writer daughter (Lily Collins) is getting her first novel published and his son Rusty (Nat Wolff), a self-confessed Stephen King worshipper, is hoping to get himself noticed both artistically and in love with a classmate.
Aside from the fact there’s little else to the plot except a series of predictably over-familiar situations involving parties, drugs and bad role-model partners, there’s a gnawing sense watching Stuck In Love that you’d really rather be watching the better films Boone clearly has to come up with this derivative, generally smug pastiche of a good indie comedy, complete with a Bon Iver, Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes introspective soundtrack.
The cast do a decent job with the material, and indeed Logan Lerman turns up with a story from a superior film, though it’s lost in Rusty’s efforts to woo Liana Liberato’s nymph Kate and William’s attempts to reconnect with Erica as disaster threatens, but never succeeds, to throw the curve away from a terribly predictable outcome.
Stuck in love? Stuck for fresh ideas sadly.