From laughing at some of the ludicrous scenarios to tugging on your heart strings, Stuck in Love takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions. It features a stand-out performance from Lily Collins and a very unexpected cameo from Stephen King. A light-hearted rom-com worth seeing.
It’s been long three years since veteran novelist Will Borgens, as played by Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear, divorced from his wife. But the well-respected writer is not above spying on ex-wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) and her new lover through the windows of their former family home. Between these spy-sessions, his fitness-fanatic neighbour-with-benefits, Tricia (Kristen Bell) pays him visits between her ritually scheduled weekly runs.
Meanwhile, Will’s stubborn, promiscuous and fiercely independent daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) is at university and about to publish her first book, while her teenage brother Rusty (Nat Wolff) is a die-heard romantic who’s been swept up in his first relationship. Each of these situations feeds into mounting complexity and soon the Borgen family are brought together by their troubles in one chaotic year.
Director Josh Boone has managed to cleverly portray the various aspects of love which occur between teenagers and adults. We see the infatuation of first love, the delusional hope for a second chance with an ex, and the difficulties between parent and child. Boone aptly opens with the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, and later on we realise that ‘home’ becomes a underlining theme throughout Stuck In Love.
The script is excellent, showcasing moments of everything from laughter and love to heartbreak. However, Boone has also littered the script with references to various books and lines by Raymond Carver, which only bookworms would understand.
Frequent laugh-out-loud moments provide some light release from the scenes of heart-rending drama. One stand out scene is in fact the opening one where we see Will snooping around his former family home before he’s unexpectedly chased down the road by their dog. There’s no struggle for laughs as Will sprints down the road scolding the disobedient pet. Another scene earns its laughs when we see nerdy and shy Rusty go to a party and punch a bully square on the nose before announcing “I’m the all new and improved Rusty Borgen”.
A stand out performance came in the form of Lily Collins as Samantha. We last saw the actress as an innocent princess who’s dreaming of finding her prince charming in Mirror, Mirror, but her character in Stuck in Love couldn’t be more different. Her fear of commitment attracts her to men she sees no possible future with, until she meets romantic Lou (Logan Lerman) who manages to sweep her off her feet.
When Samantha’s being chatted up, Collins perfects a scowl which even Kristen Stewart would be proud of. Collins pulls off a convincing ice queen with her cold and sarcastic attitude reminding you of an even grumpier Bella Swan. But to our surprise, she becomes emotional when Lou mentions Beverly Cleary’s young adult book, Dear Mr. Henshaw, which implies she isn’t as promiscuous and bad as she likes to pretend. Perhaps she’s a softie after all.
First time director, Josh Boone makes his film unashamedly emotional. Seeing Lou’s frail, terminally ill mother conjures a strong urge to go hug your own mum. It seems Boone may have based the structure of Stuck in Love on Love Actually with its likeable characters, various intriguing love stories and heartfelt moments which are all brought together at the end.
Overall, Stuck in Love takes you on a rip roaring ride and chucks you off at the end feeling uplifted, but also wanting to run straight to your mum to give her a hug. It’s the type of film you can cosy up to with your beloved or gush over screen eye-candy in the form of Lily Collins or Logan Lerman.
Stuck in Love opens on Friday 14 June, 2013.