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Stuck in Love (2012)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/8/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/9/2013
From the time that my children were very young, many people -- a lot of them total strangers -- have commented on the strong family resemblance which we have. Yes, members of the same family often look alike. This is a fact which filmmakers often seem to forget. My wife and I will often note actors which have similar features and comment that someone is really missing out on the opportunity to have them play siblings or parent and child. Well, if nothing else, the movie Stuck in Love bucks this trend by bringing us the genius move of having Jennifer Connelly play Lily Collins mother. Now that's casting! Fortunately for us, that's not the only thing this film has to offer.
Greg Kinnear stars in Stuck in Love as William Borgens, an author who received critical acclaim for his early work, but has been in a slump as of late. This is directly related to his divorce from Erica (Jennifer Connelly) and the fact that she quickly re-married. William's daughter, Samantha (Lily Collins), is a college student who was scarred by her parent's divorce and refuses to become romantically involved with anyone. She's channeled this into a novel, which has been accepted by a publisher. William's son, Rusty (Nat Wolff), is a high-school student who loves Stephen King, also dabbles in writing, and has a major crush on Kate (Liana Liberato), a girl who looks right through him. William and his decidedly dysfunctional kids attempt to focus on writing, but relationships seem to get in the way. William is still hung up on Erica and he's convinced that she's coming back to him. Despite the fact that it looks like he has no chance with her, Rusty refuses to give up on Kate. Fellow student Louis (Logan Lerman) won't take no for an answer from Samantha and is determined to get a date with her. All of these people will learn that shutting out others never works for long.
Stuck in Love comes from first-time Writer/Director Josh Boone and he's definitely committed some rookie mistakes here. This may seem like a small thing to some because, after all, this is a work of fiction, but Stuck in Love is a movie which exists in a universe where if you are a writer, then you get published. I'm sure that the millions of writers out there who have gotten rejection slips would have a problem with this. Outside of that, overall the movie doesn't feel very original. Granted, I don't think I've seen this film with a family of writers, but the characters and the situations feel very familiar. We've seen plenty of "slice of life" movies with lost characters who just need a human touch to see how nice the world can be. The tone of the film reminded me very much ofDan in Real Life. I'm not implying any plagiarism here -- this is simply a case where Stuck in Love can easily be lumped in with other dramas of a similar ilk.
But, somehow, Boone is able to draw us into the film and make us care about the characters. He does this by making the characters feel real, and thus, the movie never comes across as pretentious. The publishing bonanza aside, there are man moments in Stuck in Love which feel genuine and Boone isnít afraid to make his characters flawed in order to give them more depth. William is out of touch with reality in some ways, Samantha is cold-hearted, and Erica isnít honest with herself -- these chinks in the armor help to break down any glamour involved here and make the movie accessible. Of course, Boone is given a lot of help by the great performances which are on display here. Kinnear shines as the sad-sack who feels that heís lost control of everything. Collins shows that she has some chops. Wolff provides some of the much-needed comic relief in the film.
Apparently, Boone impressed someone with Stuck in Love, as heís been tapped to adapt the popular novel The Fault in Our Stars. Again, Stuck in Love loves something to be desired in the story department, but the behaviors of the characters and the great acting really save this movie, making it one of the best dramas which Iíve seen in some time. Even those who canít relate to the situations in the film will find something to like here. Just donít watch it with you failed writer friend.
Stuck in Love has a great cameo in the finale on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Millennium Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and natural and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is very good, as the image never goes soft and the depth is acceptable. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.4 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a dialogue-driven drama, we donít get a ton of dynamic audio effects here. The scenes on the beach do offer sounds of the wind through the front and rear channels. A few bar and party scenes also deliver surround sound effects. The musical score never drowns out the dialogue.
The Stuck in Love Blu-ray Disc contains only two extra features. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Josh Boone. "The Making of Stuck in Love" (28 minutes) should have been called "interviews", as it's simply made up of on-set comments from the cast, Boone, and Producer Judy Cairo. The speakers (who are interviewed separately for the most part) talk about their characters, their reaction to the script, working with Boone, and the themes of the script.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.