“In the Land of Women” opened this weekend to mixed reviews; and that is exactly what the film delivered: mixed opinions. While some points of the plot are a bit of a stretch and some of the dialogue rather clich, the film is entertaining the whole way through. Writer/Director Jon Kasdan does include some witty one-liners and touching storylines to redeem the film.
For those viewers who do have expectations, the film will fulfill them, good or bad. If the combo of drama, comedy and romance is your type of film, then give it a shot. If you see the commercial and think, “That looks stupid,” then you will probably resent your girlfriend for dragging you to the theater.
Adam Brody, rebounding from the cancellation of “The O.C.,” stars as aspiring writer Carter Webb. The fame of Webb’s model girlfriend has gone straight to her head and she ends their relationship. Carter is heartbroken and finds the escape he needs when he decides to move into his grandmother’s house in the quiet suburbs. Olympia Dukakis shines in the role of losing-her-mind Grandma Phyllis, reminding audiences why she won an Oscar for 1987s “Moonstruck.”
Compassionate Webb quickly bonds with adult neighbor Sarah Hardwicke (Meg Ryan) as they swap sad stories on strolls through the neighborhood. Ryan is impressive as a wife and mother undergoing cancer treatment; it is refreshing to see her in a dramatic role.
Ryan’s character then encourages Lucy Hardwicke (Kristen Stewart), her oldest daughter, to befriend Webb. He almost becomes their family’s therapist and he now has to coach Lucy through high school romance.
Surrounded by his grandmother and these neighbors, Carter finds himself in the land of women.
The film’s strongest feature is the development of family relationships. It appears that Webb has never gotten close to his grandmother, but as they live together they form a new connection. He helps her with chores around the house and she tries to pass on the life experience she has gained.
At the beginning of the film, Lucy sees her mother as nothing more than an embarrassment. Sarah’s sickness, however, makes Lucy realize what a strong role model she has been blessed with. Lucy also finds solace in her younger sister, as they are both terrified of their mother’s disease and reach out to each other.
The film leaves a few questions unanswered and concludes with an incredibly random scene, but does not deserve a rave review regardless. It does serve as a nice stepping stone for Kasdan though, in his directorial debut. He will be someone to watch over the next few years.
Ultimately, “In the Land of Women” is an enjoyable film. The trailer is a good representation, the film delivers what the viewer expects.