After dating for three years Michael (Zack Braff – from television's Scrubs) and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett – Poseidon, Ladder 49) have decided to get married, which turns out to be the easy part. On the surface they are the perfect couple, underneath Michael just seems not to be able to handle the stress of the wedding coupled with the fact that he is turning 30. His stress in increased due to the fact that Jenna is pregnant and he is to become a father. Michael begins to feel his youth slipping away.
It also doesn't help that all the relationships around the couple seem to be falling apart. Michael's friend Izzy (Michael Weston – The Dukes of Hazzard, Garden State) can't let go of his ex Arianna (Marley Shelton – Grindhouse, Sin City), his friend Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen – Cellular, Pearl Harbor) is afraid of any kind of commitment, friend and co-worker Chris (Casey Affleck – Ocean's Twelve, Good Will Hunting) is always being emasculated by his wife Lisa (Lauren Lee Smith – Get Carter), and even Jenna's parents, Anna (Blythe Danner – Meet the Fockers, The Prince of Tides) and Stephen (Tom Wilkinson – The Full Monty, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), are separated.
At a friend's wedding Michael meets a young and carefree college student named Kim (Rachel Bilson – from television's The O.C.). Despite his relationship, impending nuptials and that he is to be a father, Michael is tempted by Kim. Michael knows exactly where his life is headed and instead of being reassured he is stressed. Despite this he has no idea what he really wants. Is it Jenna? Or is it Kim?
When I realized that the screenplay was written by Paul Haggis (Letters From Iwo Jima, Casino Royale – 2006) my expectations of the film went up. That was probably a mistake on my part. I ended up a little disappointed. This is not to say it was a bad film, but due to Haggis' involvement I was expecting more fleshed out characters and better dialogue. I don't know if it is due to the script or what but most of the acting in the film is on the flat side as well.
One notable exception is Casey Affleck in his role as Michael's friend. He does a great job portraying this weary and disillusioned man. You can really feel how torn his is between admitting his marriage is over and wanting to still be a father to his child.
The way the film keeps pounding away at how stifling and unsatisfying marriage and parenthood is is totally one dimensional. Life is most certainly not over once you get married or why would a large percentage of the population keep doing it? It is a much too simplistic approach to a complex issue. I am sure that a lot of you watching will see themselves in many of the characters and enjoy the film as a result. I, however, found it a little one dimensional and simplistic.
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