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With: Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly, Nat Wolff, Kristen Bell, Spencer Breslin, Liana Liberato, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Glen Powell, Alex ter Avest, Stephen King (voice)
Written by: Josh Boone
Directed by: Josh Boone
MPAA Rating: R for language, teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual content
Running Time: 97
Date: 07/05/2013

Stuck in Love (2013)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Best Penned

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Many movies about writers wind up taking a passive approach as the writer character sits back, observes, and records life as it happens around him or her. Writer/director Josh Boone has solved this dilemma with this complex, emotional portrait of family of writers. Stuck on You isn't really about the act of writing itself, but the struggle with how much a writer needs to open up his or her heart to the world. The characters show varying degrees of this struggle, as well as the pain that can be associated with all of them.

Divorced father William Borgens (Greg Kinnear) is an acclaimed, published writer, who pines for his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly) and sleeps with a married neighbor (Kristen Bell). Rather than writing anything new, he spends time coaching his teen son Rusty (Nat Wolff) and 19 year-old daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) in their writing careers. Samantha believes in sleeping around and not falling in love, and this attitude shows in her soon-to-be-published book, while Rusty is more sensitive and looking for true love. Luckily, the object of his affections, Kate (Liana Liberato), notices him when he writes a poem about her, and nice guy Lou (Logan Lerman) manages to catch Samantha. However, love has a way of making things even more complicated.

These deep, multi-faceted characters result in some terrific performances by the entire cast, and this is clearly Boone's strength. His visual style, too, is mainly in service of the characters without any real fancy flourishes. Where the movie steps wrong is in the subplot about a teen drug addict. Boone pitches these scenes way too high, and they collapse into melodrama, shattering the movie's spell. But the movie quickly rights itself into a satisfying full circle.

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