‘Stuck in Love’ is supposedly a romantic comedy, but there’s not much that’s humorous about it. It features a year in the life of an American family, from one Thanksgiving to the next. Bill (Greg Kinnear) is the father, a well-known writer who has published several books. He has been unable to write anything new since his wife Erica (Jennifer Connelly) left him for another man, a few years before the story starts. Bill has not remained celibate (far from it) but he is still in love with his ex-wife, in a somewhat obsessional way. He still sets a place for her at family mealtimes, and he snoops around her house in the evenings.
Bill and Erika’s son Rusty (Nat Wolff) is at high school and still lives with his father, while their daughter Samantha (Lily Collins) is away at university. She is determined not to fall in love, after seeing the problems in her parents’ marriage, but is highly promiscuous. Rusty, by contrast, would love to find a girlfriend. He is a bit of a geek, and tends to stay in at his computer. Both Rusty and Samantha are writers, funded by their father to keep journals and write - and Samantha is about to have her first book published.
It’s a character-based story, one that flows nicely with smoothly alternating scenes that allow us to get to know each of the family in turn. Samantha, at the start of the year, is still furious with her mother and refuses to speak to her. Bill is persuaded that he needs to move on and start dating again, but can’t forget his wife. Rusty starts going out with a girl he has liked for a while, only to discover that she has a very troubled lifestyle.
It’s a good story, with a positive message and, I thought, an encouraging ending. The actors are very believable, the situations realistic, and it’s quite thought-provoking.
Unfortunately, it’s plagued with bad language including (according to one website) at least fifty incidents of what the censors call ‘strong’ language. Perhaps a couple of times it would have been acceptable, but after the first half hour it grated. It felt as if the word was put in so that the censors would give it a higher rating. In the UK it’s rated 15; in the more cautious US it has an R rating.
While there’s no explicit nudity, and only a couple of incidents of relatively minor violence, there are various intimate scenes where very little is left to the imagination. There are also scenes - albeit brief - of smoking illegal substances.
In the context of the story, these scenes are not out of place, but we were very unimpressed with the coarse and annoying bad language, which, we felt, was out of place and unnecessary.
There are no extras at all on the DVD, which was a slight disappointment as we enjoy documentaries about the making of movies.
Review by Sue F copyright 2015 Sue's DVD Reviews