Stuck in Love

Film Title: Stuck in Love

Director: Josh Boone

Starring: Greg Kinnear, Nat Wolff, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins

Genre: Romance

Running Time: 97 min

Fri, Jun 14, 2013, 00:00

   

Debuting writer-director Josh Boone has just been snapped up to adapt John Green’s mega-selling weepie The Fault in Our Stars. Watching his incurable romance drama Stuck in Love, one can see why Twentieth Century Fox and the producers of Twilight were willing to trust a relative newcomer with such a hot property.

Boone, is transpires, is all about books. One couldn’t accuse Stuck of wearing its literary influences lightly; on the contrary it revels in them and frequently puts them to work as a kind of shorthand.

We know that Greg Kinnear’s divorced novelist Bill Borgens is profoundly sad as he seems to be constantly re-reading Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter.

Despite his children’s grumbling, and the attentions of bubbly jogger Kristen Bell, he continues to set a place for his ex-wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) at the Thanksgiving table and is not above peeping through her windows at night. It requires all of Kinnear’s not inconsiderable charm to keep us onside as he stalks and guesses about the row she’s having with her new partner.

We realise that Erica has not entirely extricated herself from the world of letters when Bill spies her reading Joan Didion.

We also realise that while Bill and Erica’s collegiate daughter Samantha (Lily Collins, a revelation) professes to loathe her mother, the precocious novelist’s reaction to the very mention of Beverly Clearys young adult standard, Dear Mr Henshaw, suggests she isn’t the promiscuous badass she likes to pretend.

Nat Wolff’s Stephen King-
obsessed teen and Logan Lerman’s would-be gentleman caller allow for some further romantic complications.

All the name-dropping and a further contingent of hipster approved musical cues – Bright Eyes anyone? – ought to be insanely annoying.

Instead, we’re soon caught up in Stuck in Love’s infectious enthusiasm for reading, for culture and for proper grown-up drama.

The performances are, without exception, superb: yes, that is Percy Jackson’s Logan Lerman and yes, co-star Patrick Schwarzenegger is indeed the issue of the former Governor of California.

Together the cast and cinematographer Tim Orr’s unpretentious framing work to ensure that this is the heartfelt indie-schmindie piece that The Perks of Being a Wallflower desperately wanted to be but wasn’t.