Adam Brody, Kristin Stewart and Meg Ryan make up an awkward romantic triangle in In the Land of Women, a comedy-drama that never decides what it wants to be. The film has its moments, but ultimately it lacks a quality or believable story.
Brody plays an unhappy writer who decides to temporarily postpone his work to go stay with his grandma. His grandma is a bit off her rocker - she answers the door with no pants on, swears constantly and so on and so forth - and requires a bit of maintenance, but he finds solace with his neighbors across the way, namely the attractive teenage daughter (Stewart) and her wise mother (Ryan), who is dying of cancer. While he gets along perfectly with the daughter, who is only a few years younger than him, he strikes up a strong bond with the mother.
In the Land of Women has its appealing moments. I have a crush on Stewart, and as such any scene with her is quite nice. Brody continues to play a shadow of his former "O.C." character, but, admittedly, it still works for him for the time being. His awkward comedic timing adds sprinkles of entertaining to the otherwise bland story.
Watching Ryan, however, is depressing. It's not that she's that bad in the movie; it's just that watching her, both a victim of plastic surgery and now age, reminds you of just how cute and popular the actress used to be, and how she is anything but now.
The real problem with In the Land of Women, however, is that the story just isn't plausible. It's about a twenty-something man who goes on a date or two with a high school girl, but who is really interested in her mother. It's not that the situation isn't completely out of left field, but it's not written well enough to pull the love triangle off. It's never established why Brody is so drawn to Ryan rather than Stewart, and as such it's hard to relate to the characters.
In the Land of Women isn't as terrible as some people said it would, and overall it is watchable, but a better screenplay is needed to pull something like this off. There's no dramatic spark or power, and the very presence of Brody and his style of humor suggests the writer's knew they needed to brighten things up to keep people from growing bored. Still, when the ending credits roll, you'll just shrug and forget about the movie five minutes later.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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