Published Sep 09, 2012If you find romantic neuroses of the pretentious and privileged identifiable or amusing, Writers is a passable dramedy. Slightly correcting a clumsy start, writer/director Josh Boone swiftly abandons an introductory convention that externalizes the journal entries of aspiring authors Rusty, Samantha and their established literary figure father ,William Borgens, with on-screen typeface stylized to match the contrived tone of each scribe.
It's a cloying and graceless tactic that doesn't serve any meaningful thematic purpose, and immediately places the burden of taste upon the actors. A solid cast featuring Greg Kinnear, as the emotionally stagnant patriarch, Lily Collins, as his cynical, promiscuous daughter caught up in the publishing of her first novel, Nat Wolff, as his shy, guarded son tentatively navigating the turbulence of first love, and Jennifer Connelly, as his estranged, meathead-humping wife, are largely up to the task.
They invest their relationships with a natural familial rapport and an affectionate competitiveness common to all families, but more pronounced among a brood raised on the nectar of self-importance.
Both children's romantic hang-ups are clearly a result of their parents' shattered relationship, and both follow clichéd trajectories of self-discovery. Samantha's cynical ego-stoking-by-jock-banging is tested by a persistent suitor with a comparable I.Q. (Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), while Rusty pursues the tainted angel he's been pining over, at his father's behest — a writer is only as interesting as his life experience — learning the hard way that the broken can only fix themselves.
Livening up the glib sentimentality and faux profundity is Kristen Bell as William's married neighbour, who indulges in jog-by coitus with the lethargic, semi-famous writer out of convenience and boredom. Her matter-of-fact attitude towards sex without romantic attachment — the shameless vixen gleefully grooms her fuck-buddy for online dating — demonstrates a more unique perspective than the predictable status-quo-enforcing relationship revivals this middling celebration of happy endings builds towards.
Unless you're seeking earnest reassurance that everything will be fine as long as your family is well connected, you might want to give Writers a pass. (eOne)