I’m a big fan of a good, indie romantic comedy. They are usually funnier, less cheesy, more relatable and just better written than the big budget rom-coms with the A-List stars that have no chemistry together. So I jumped on the chance to check out Stuck In Love, with high hopes.
Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is a very successful novelist, who is still moping around 3 years after his divorce from his wife (Jennifer Connelly), resorting to taking advice from his friend with benefits, played by Kristin Bell. Simultaneously, his children (Lily Collins and Nat Wolff) are having romantic issues of their own.
Like I already mentioned, I had high hopes for Stuck In Love. I like Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly, and the trailer looked appealing. The first thing that I usually see from these indie romances is that they have very well done, subtle but strong performances. For the most part the acting was alright in this film, but if I’m honest, it was far from great. Kinnear, Bell and Connelly did their part just fine, but most of the younger cast just didn’t have the acting motors for some of the more serious stuff.
The humor was where the film had no issues. The humor and the charm. The younger members of the cast chipped in well here, and a lot of their scenes were genuinely fun and amusing to watch. However, when the the proceedings turned to the more dramatic, serious stuff the youngsters work just seemed forced and a little over dramatic, to the point where it made the scenes lose basically any impact they could have had.
To piggy back off those problems with the performances in the film, the screenplay itself had some similar issues. At times the screenplay and dialogue was quite strong, and found that sweet spot that many indie films find. However, what was tough to watch were some of the awful cliches, and way too overpowering moments which seemed unrealistic and to lack emotion. The type of stuff you’d see on a teenage sitcom drama. There were 3 or 4 moments like this that flat out killed the mood for me.
The film did have a lot of t hings going for it though. Some really good chemistry between some of the characters, particularly Collins and Logan Lerman (he plays a young guy trying to get her to actually fall in love), and this is fairly good cinema. The scenes involving Kristen Bell and Kinnear are pretty entertaining too, and bring a spark to things.
What the film lacked was a good blend of those small, seemingly meaningless moments, which actually mean everything to a good movie with the bigger, more noticeable story points. These type of scenes are really difficult to write, and unfortunately they weren’t quite able to get these right here in the way that other indie films like ‘The Kings of Summer’ or ‘Drinking Buddies’ were.
In order to make a good indie romantic comedy work, you need to stay away from the things that the blockbuster rom-coms generally do. Keep it simple, get the screenplay right and fill it with moments that an average audience can relate to. Throw in some chemistry, clever humor and good acting and you’ve got a winner. Unfortunately, Stuck In Love only had some of these ingredients, but not all.