Stuck In Love

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Nat Wolfe, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell. Written & directed by Josh Boone.

FILM SYNOPSIS: The dramedy interweaves the stories of various family members over the course of a year. Greg Kinnear plays a famous novelist obsessed with his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly), while Lily Collins co-stars as their collegiate daughter Samantha, who is pursued by fellow writing student (Logan Lerman). Nat Wolff will play her teenage brother, who is experiencing first love with Liana Liberatoís character. Kristen Bell has been cast as a friend of the novelist who is trying to help him get over his ex-wife.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Not because Iím pious or somehow feel spiritually superior, but when I view a film about human emotions Iím unsatisfied, disappointed, and frequently furious that such a drama avoids a spiritual component, or at least a respect for those who do. Certainly, we can learn by watching the lifestyles of those struggling through life, no matter their religious convictions, but one of the central characters in Stuck in Love ridicules a believer in creationism and matter-of-factly states that there is no God. While the scene also ridicules her for her narrow thinking, it makes a joke of a person of faith. In this film, not one of the leading characters has a faith in God. The only reference to God or Christ is in the form of, well, I guess you know by now how God and Christ are used in the movies.

I did appreciate the revealing performances, the involving direction and the astute technical aspects of the production, but the story was a sort of fantasy/fairytale for teen writers who expect to get their first book published by the age of nineteen, which is what happens to the teen writer in the story. A year later, her sibling is also published, by the age of eighteen, no less. Poor old dad, what a loser; he had to wait clear to the age of twenty-five before his book was published. Theyíre a pompous, privileged bunch, hard to like.

The family is great looking, they live on a perfect beach, and are each accomplished writers before theyíve even finished their matriculation. No wonder they donít need God. They must believe they are gods. (Boy, are they in for a surprise.) By filmís end, despite its hopeful resolution, the realist in me wondered what the next chapter in their rather self-important lives would bring. Often those who find success and celebrity before their complexion clears up struggle with their place in world for the remainder of their lives. Just ask any post-teen whose Disney or Nickelodeon series was canceled five or more years ago.

The teen children, each gifted beyond their years, are portrayed much like far-left characters freshly sprung from a Comedy Central sit/com. Theyíre either promiscuous or potheads, they swear at the dinner table in front of a very liberated father, and find societyís rules are meant for others. And good old dad, well, he has ďuncomplicatedĒ sex with a married neighbor, who rushes in and out of his bed before finishing her daily jogging exercise.

These lifestyles are never ridiculed or negated, but rather, celebrated by the filmmaker. Lord, how Hollywood hates to acknowledge a need for scriptural resolution in a main character.

ďThe Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. The good man does not escape all troubles Ė he has them too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.Ē Psalms 34:18-19 The Living Bible.

Though the film has some nice elements, it is full of stereotypes and sit-com clichťs. And if you are trying to find your path through biblical principles, you may also find this film unsatisfying.

For Teens - More about the drug use in this film: I suspect when you get to my age, youíll also want to give advice to those younger than you. There are several reasons for wanting to tell others what to do and what not to. Some reasons may stem from self-importance, but more often than not, itís because those giving the warnings are truly concerned with the well-being of others. Me, Iím telling you this because the film doesnít.

I hope you will consider before using drugs or alcohol.

First, youíre not totally formed yet. It may look like it on the outside, but youíre still growing. So is your mind. Donít do something that will stunt it. In the years to come, youíll need to be at the top of your game. Iíve never known of a frequent drug user to ever be at the top of their game. And Iíve never known anyone to just stay an infrequent drug user.

As for the issue of drug use as an escape from your problems: Someone once told me that your first experience with heroin is a euphoric high unlike anything youíll experience. But, from then on, youíll keep trying for that same high and never achieving it. Now, maybe that was just a tactic to scare you away from such addiction. Maybe not. Want to take that chance? Oh, donít plan on going from pot use to harder drugs? No one ever does.

Rebellion. Want to get back at the folks for poor parenting? Oh, please. Donít be an idiot. Sure, destroying your life will hurt them. But at whose expense? Want to get back at them. Love Ďem and donít make the same mistakes. They be proud of you and ashamed of themselves.

Well, I guess there are several other reasons to avoid drugs, but Iím sure Iíve preached enough. Just remember, God will forgive you for your sins, faults and mistakes. So will those who love you. But life never will. No one can avoid all errors in judgment. But life will make sure you pay for them. So, avoid regret whenever possible.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Millennium Entertainment.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several crude sexual expressions

Obscene Language: At least 60 obscenities, mostly the s- and f-words.

Profanity: Seven or more misuses of Godís name or His Sonís.

Violence: Two brief teenage school-bully battles; a teen pushes a girl to the floor.

Sex: Teens and adults are seen in sexual situations, though mostly implied; these activities donít become too graphic.

Nudity: I caught none.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: A great deal of casual drug use, teens smoking pot, a girl uses cocaine so often that it causes her nose to bleed; everyone drinks.

Other: None

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up

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