Release Date: April 20th, 2007 by Warner Bros. Pictures.
The Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan, Olympia Dukakis, Makenzie Vega, Elena Anaya, Clark Gregg, JoBeth Williams.
Directed by Jon Kasdan.
BASIC PREMISE: Carter (Brody), a heartbroken 26-year-old man from Los Angeles, visits his grandmother (Dukakis) in the suburbs of Detroit where he befriends a neighbor, Sarah (Ryan) and her teenage daughter, Lucy (Stewart).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: In the Land of Women feels mildly engaging, but suffers from an unfocused plot and clichés, such the opening scene when Carter’s girlfriend (Anaya) dumps him all-of-a-sudden and, soon enough, Carter visits his grandmother out in the Detroit suburbs. His grandmother, in a hilarious performance by Olympia Dukakis, suffers from dementia. Carter meets an older, married woman, Sarah (Ryan) who lives across the street and has leukemia while her husband is cheating on her. The two become good friends and she introduces him to her somewhat rebellious teenage daughter, Lucy. Then there’s Lucy’s adorable little sister, Paige (Vega), who jokingly asks Carter to marry her. As Sarah, Meg Ryan doesn’t have that natural charm she used to have—she doesn’t even look natural with her “Bo-tox” face. Adam Brody gives a decent performance reminiscent of Zach Braff in Garden State while Kristen Stewart shines as Lucy. Writer/director Jon Kasdan certainly knows the importance of having an interesting plot with interesting characters, but he doesn’t realize that when includes too many subplots, he makes it feel congested and unfocused. Moreover, he cops-out by using dramatic clichés in order to sympathize with a character, such as giving Sarah leukemia. Kasdan simply lacks the skills for maintaining natural transitions between scenes with organic dialogue in a dramedy such as in the superior ensemble film The Big Chill, written and directed by his father, Lawrence. In the Land of Women blends drama, comedy and a little bit of romance, but feels unfocused with its convoluted plot and its overload of underdeveloped characters.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: A convoluted and clichéd plot.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly engaging, but too convoluted and clichéd.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "I" Menu