Review: ‘Stuck in Love’

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Asking me to be objective about a movie like Stuck in Love is like asking my boyfriend to be objective about Cubs baseball. It’s just not going to happen.

I had never even heard of this obvious chick flick until I was scrolling through Fandango looking for anything passable in theaters right now besides The Butler. That’s what happens when you agree to see a movie with other people and then have to wait for their schedules to free up.

All the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (58 percent…uh oh) said the same thing: great performances from a great cast can’t save this weak script. As a writer, I’m big into a successful script. You can make a bad movie out of a good script, but it’s impossible to make a good movie out of a bad one.

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Lily Collins and Logan Lerman as Samantha and Louis.

But hey, I can appreciate good performances, and all the actors I know in this movie (Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Kristen Bell, Lily Collins) are ones that I’ve enjoyed in the past. So I figured, what the hell? All I have to lose is the exorbitantly high cost of a movie ticket these days.

Let’s get the issues out of the way. Much as I adore Kristen Bell (and we all know that I do), her part in this movie is totally pointless. In fact, I’m really not sure why she was written in and how no one noticed how little she added to the plot of the film. Also, Rotten Tomatoes was right, as it usually is. The script is incredibly weak at times, specifically in the second half. The ending is unsatisfying and there are development holes in the relationships between the characters that created a sense of disbelief for me.

All of that said, I cannot possibly tell you that I didn’t enjoy that movie. And that’s because at some turns, it felt like it was written just for me.

Stuck in Love is a movie about a family of three writers—father, daughter, and son. The mother left two years ago, and Bill, the accomplished novelist of a dad, won’t give up hope that she’s coming back, even though she’s married a younger, buffer guy. Meanwhile, the divorce has left their daughter Samantha (who has an upcoming novel of her own, even though she’s only 19) cynical toward love and she spends the first half of the movie verbally abusing guys in bars and looking for stringless sex. And then we have the high-school aged son Rusty, who is just as much of a hopeless romantic as his father and writes poems about the girl in his English class.

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Nat Wolff and Liana Liberato as Rusty and Kate.

Oh, writers.

Greg Kinnear’s character says, “I don’t know what it is that makes a person keep wanting to play make believe long after he grows up.” This movie is full of moments and truths about writing. How we’re a vain and envious bunch. How things haunt us long after we should have moved on. How after a while, writing becomes like breathing.

“You can’t make me write!” Rusty yells after his dad grounds him and orders him to his journal.

“I won’t have to. You’re a writer; you’ll do it on your own.”

One Rotten Tomatoes blurb said this movie was full of literary tropes, and it said it like it was a bad thing. If we’re talking about clichés, this movie is full of them. Perhaps that’s why it’s so unsatisfying. But as a collection of moments, it’s a beautiful thing. The things that stick with you are sharing songs with someone you like in their car or discussing your favorite childhood books over coffee.

This movie could have gone deeper, it could have been braver, it’s true. And I probably would have loved it even more. But despite its weak writing, Stuck in Love did a pretty good job of getting across what it’s like to be a writer.

Verdict: Not Applicable

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