If you are a sassy and sarcastic young man in an American sitcom who represents the sitcom writer’s desire that a nerdy Jewish teenager can somehow be the desirable romantic hero in this world, then eventually you will get a movie of your own. For a few months, people will talk about how you are making the leap from television to films, except that for the most part you aren’t making the leap from television to films. You are getting one film, and then it will either be back to television, or maybe back to the pool at your mansion. But certainly not back to being in movies all the time. This fall, Gossip Girl’s own Penn Badgley got his movie, a remake of cult horror classic, The Stepfather. Videogum’s Topher Grace, of course, starred in 2004’s In Good Company. And in 2007, The O.C.’s Adam Brody starred in this week’s Hunt nominee, In the Land of the Women.
Let’s just say, there might be a reason that these guys are only getting one movie!
In the Land of the Women opens in a diner, where Adam Brody is getting dumped by his famous actress girlfriend. It’s basically like the beginning of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, except with a tiny bit less penis. Some, but less. Adam Brody goes home, or to his mom’s house? Either he lives with his mom, or after the break-up he goes straight to his mom. Either way it is a little strange. In any event, she tells him that she is worried about his grandmother, who is living all alone in her house in Michigan, and that she is probably going to go out and visit her soon. But Adam Brody decides that he should go to Michigan, because it is just what he needs to get over the break-up and to get out of LA for awhile and do some of the writing he’s REALLY been wanting to do whenever he gets free-time from his job writing scripts for soft core pornography. Oh boy, here we go.
So, Adam Brody goes to Michigan. Incidentally, this is the last time we will ever see or hear from his mom for the rest of the movie. I guess she was not that worried about the grandmother. Anyway, in Michigan, Adam Brody’s grandmother lives across the street from Meg Ryan’s family. On the same day that he arrives, Meg Ryan has found a lump on her breast, and makes an appointment to get a mamogram. But she doesn’t know how to tell her daughter, Kristen Stewart. Because Kristen Stewart is a teenager, and you know how they can be. Meg Ryan does tell her, though, and Kristen Stewart goes upstairs and…runs her hands under the sink? Anyway, that night, Adam Brody takes out the garbage and it spills all over the street. Kristen Stewart sees him from her perch on the roof (classic teenager) where she is secretly smoking cigarettes (double classic teenager). She laughs, and he looks up, and she hides. Then Meg Ryan walks up with her dog, and welcomes him to the neighborhood and OH MY GOD, ARE THEY KIND OF FLIRTING WITH EACH OTHER?
OK, so, 15 minutes into this movie, and we are already getting MAJOR red flags.
Meg Ryan goes inside, and just then a bunch of cars full of teenagers pull up. Now Adam Brody meets Kristen Stewart for the first time, and promises not to tell Meg Ryan about her smoking if she will give him a cigarette. WORST LOVE TRIANGLE EVER. The next morning, Meg Ryan comes over with a plate of Fig Newtons. You know how middle-aged mothers in the midst of a breast cancer scare are always going extra out of their way to welcome 20-something erotica writers to the neighborhood. They decide to go for a walk. OF COURSE THEY DO. At the end of the walk, after they’ve become soulmates, Adam Brody asks if they can do it again sometime. OF COURSE HE DOES. When she gets home, Meg Ryan tells Kristen Stewart to ask Adam Brody out on a date. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!
Basically, Adam Brody kind of tells Meg Ryan that he loves her, or something? I know that he definitely kisses her in the rain. That is for sure, and that is for terrible.
But then Kristen Stewart also likes him. And then Meg Ryan gets jealous and angry and tells Adam Brody to stay away from her daughter, and also to stay away from her. Meanwhile, she is diagnosed with cancer. Then she shaves her head.
Adam Brody’s ex-girlfriend calls him and says that she misses him. DID ADAM BRODY WRITE THIS FUCKING MOVIE HIMSELF? I don’t even understand why anyone likes him. He’s mostly a jerk to everyone and very very full of himself. You can all do better, ladies, even you, plastic duck-faced Meg Ryan with breast cancer. When Meg Ryan is in the hospital, Adam Brody writes her a love letter, because she never got a love letter before. It’s all about how he hopes she can go back to the Met some day, because at the grocery store she told him that she loved going to the Met one time. He also tells her to take her daughter, which is supposed to be thoughtful or something but is actually gross, because he basically fucked both of them. Basically. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart pulls a VERY dangerous u-turn in the middle of the street and drives to the mall, which is closed, but she gets in anyway, and she goes to find the love that has always been staring her right in the face she just never realized it. That love is closing up at the Orange Julius. Finally, Adam Brody’s grandmother dies, and he goes back to Los Angeles, and as soon as he gets back, he goes to the cafe from the beginning, and the hot waitress (Ginnifer Goodwin) immediately falls in love with him. Oh phew! I was worried that not everyone in the whole world would be in love with him for two seconds.
It would be one thing if this movie was just insufferable, which it is, but it’s insulting how little sense any of it makes. Like, nothing is ever resolved, or explained, or even examined. And it’s not because this is such a good depiction of life’s inherent sloppiness and the lack of meaningful resolution in the real world. That’s not the problem here. If this was that kind of movie, then it wouldn’t have a scene like this:
You know how it is, when you are remembering too hard and then you RUN FACE FIRST INTO A TREE on someone’s FRONT LAWN. Ugh. At one point, Meg Ryan tells Adam Brody about how her husband is having an affair. The end. Like, the husband is never confronted, he never apologizes, there are no real consequences, we’re never told whether or not he is going to keep having an affair. You would think they’d have time to resolve this storyline since every single scene is an IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS conversation.
Another great part is when Meg Ryan finds out that she has breast cancer, and her and her husband split up to tell their two daughters the news separately, which is already awful parenting, but then we never even see the dad talking to Kristen Stewart about it, and we never see Kristen Stewart react to the news at all. It’s just Meg Ryan talking to her youngest daughter over ice cream, and then cut to the next day, Kristen Stewart making her Kristen Stewart face.
Boy, she is really taking her mom’s breast cancer, which her mom didn’t even have the heart to tell her about in person, in stride! You have to assume there was a scene of Kristen Stewart hearing the news, though, right? Which is about the point in the movie when you really start to get the sense that half of In the Land of the Women was probably cut due to being awful. They only saved the best parts for us. Thanks!
It’s one thing to pack your movie full of cliches (frustrated artist, kissing in the rain, mother-daughter love triangle [JK], acerbic grandma who teaches Adam Brody about family) but they don’t even do the cliched work of establishing their cliches!
Of course, the movie isn’t JUST cliches. It is also unnecessary quirky moments shoe-horned in to try and give the movie the kind of lovable character that it completely lacks.
There is a clown taking balloons out of the trunk of his car for no reason! Who doesn’t love a raccoon trying to get in a window? HUH?
Although, in retrospect, I guess I do understand why every single woman in the world is completely in love with Adam Brody despite the fact that he has total marble-mouth and is so smug and mean to everyone, including his aging grandmother, a confused teenage girl, and a woman recently diagnosed with cancer. It’s because he’s such a good writer!
What an awful movie. In the land of the top 5 worst movies, easily.