"Your sister is a great writer, and it's because she is courageous in life."
Stuck in Love is one of those movies that is a bit difficult to review because there is little positive or negative things I can say about it. It is not great, but it is not bad either, it is just an average indie rom-com that never managed to get me emotionally involved with the characters. I was a bit disappointed because the trailer for this film looked so good. It made me think this was going to be similar to The Squid and the Whale since it dealt with writers and divorce; and it could have been similar with the only difference that the kids in this film were older. But the script wasn't nearly up to par with that film. Stuck in Love lacked that slick and edgy humor. There were some interesting moments thanks to a very likable and strong cast, but at the end this film felt like another formulaic Hollywood rom-com with everything fitting together too neatly during the final Thanksgiving dinner scene. This is Josh Boone's directorial debut and he had an impressive cast to work with, but ultimately his script was the weakest link here. It wasn't a terrible film, it managed to capture the several different dynamics of love through the very different characters and their love interests, but it was all uninspiring at times and predictable.
The film introduces us to a modern day American family of writers, the Borgens. William (Greg Kinnear) is a successful writer who has spent the last 3 years of his life waiting for his ex-wife, Erica (Jennifer Connelly) to return. She left him for a younger man, and he often stalks her hoping she will one day come back to him. Their oldest daughter, Samantha (Lily Collins) hasn't been able to forgive her for it. She hasn't spoken with her mother and doesn't believe in love or relationships. She is outgoing and likes to hook up with guys, but avoids any kind of relationship because she knows how devastating heartbreaks can be. She sees it every day in her father's moping face. She has just finished writing her first novel and is getting it published. Her younger brother, Rusty (Nat Wolff), is also an aspiring writer who also happens to be a huge Stephen King fan. He isn't very popular at school, but falls for the very beautiful and outgoing Kate (Liana Liberato). She seems out of his league, but she is also looking for someone different who could help her get out of trouble. Following his father's advice, Rusty decides to take risks and experience more of life and so he begins to pursue Kate. Samantha on the other hand is being pursued by a helpless romantic named Lou (Logan Lerman) who believes in true love and is also a writer. The film focuses on these various family dynamics and how each relationship begins shaping their lives.
Greg Kinnear gives a strong performance as usual, playing the caring father who can't seem to get over his ex-wife's abandonment. He hasn't been able to write since and therefor can't move on with his life. He has a casual relationship with his married neighbor played by Kristen Bell, but the film really doesn't focus much on her character. Jennifer Connelly doesn't have much screen time either as her major concern deals with her trying to reestablish her relationship with her estranged daughter. The central characters are actually the young kids who surprised me with very strong performances. Lily Collins is very likable in her role here and you can't help but root for her and her love interest, Logan Lerman. They looked cute together. Collins plays Jennifer Connelly's daughter here and it is surprising how much they really lookalike. I had to check if they weren't actually related in real life. Despite their great performances, I thought the true standout here was Nat Wolff. He plays the insecure kid who is willing to take risks in order to conquer the girl of his dreams. There are some great moments in this film, but the uneven script cost this film and ultimately it just felt like another forgettable Hollywood rom-com.