If the family of novelists at the heart of newbie filmmaker Josh Boone’s drama were to follow the age-old adage about writing what you know, they would never run out of material. Dad (Greg Kinnear), who’s still trying to equal his celebrated first book, pines for his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly)—to the point of peeping into the windows of their former house. Their oldest kid, Samantha (Lily Collins), is a zipless-fuck aficionado and commitmentphobe, at least until a nice guy pries his way in; and her brother, Rusty (Nat Wolff), crushes on a high-school classmate (Liana Liberato) who sees him as a way out from her habitual substance abuse.
Stuck in Love is packed with enough drama to fill a miniseries (or, more to the point, several tawdry best-sellers), but Boone interweaves the stories gracefully enough that the parts don’t snag. The movie’s not especially urgent or inventive, but it has small moments of grace, like the scene in which would-be sweetheart Logan Lerman breaks down Collins’s defenses by playing her Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars” in a darkened car. (Naturally, she succumbs.) It’s too bad the movie doesn’t follow its characters’ leads by actually taking a risk.
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