The world of movies isn’t what it used to be. The budgets of typical Hollywood movies have grown so vast, and their marketing has become so expensive that smaller, more interesting movies have been pushed aside so that these tent pole pictures can recoup their costs at the box office. They just don’t make films like 2012’s Stuck In Love anymore – moderately budgeted films, where the script and performances are key.
Writer/director Josh Boone makes his debut with this dramedy which follows the complicated lives and loves (and complicated love lives) of a family of writers. Greg Kinnear plays William Borgens, the patriarch and a critically acclaimed novelist who hasn’t recovered from his wife (Jennifer Connolly) leaving him for a younger model. Lily Collins and Nat Wolff star as the talent offspring, Samantha and Rusty. The former is on the cusp of getting her first novel published, while the latter is a pot-smoking Stephen King fan, with his eye on the girlfriend of the school bully.
Stuck In Love skips along at a great pace, ticking all the right boxes. The soundtrack adds an extra layer of feeling to things, while the cast give it their all. Kinnear has played this type of well-meaning loser before – and he’s good at it, while the stand-outs are (surprisingly) Collins and Wolff. They show a maturity in their performances that helps the film overcome any worry that it may become a teen-drama.
Boone shows that he’s worth following in future cinematic efforts. He has a deft hand with dialogue and he keeps things from becoming too saccharine. Admittedly, the film lacks any real peril (emotional or otherwise), but that’s not the issue – with Stuck In Love, it’s not the destination – it’s definitely the journey. In many ways Stuck In Love reminds me of Paul Weitz’s 2004 film In Good Company. Both films are family dramas with a comedy edge which take a cross-generational look at family life. Both films are also underrated and well worth your time.
Funny, touching and exceptionally well made, Stuck In Love is the type of movie that Hollywood has forgotten how to make. It’s well worth your time and the perfect antidote to the special effects blockbusters clogging-up the multiplex.