For directorial debut, Kasdan learns what Women want

In The Land Of Women

on April 20, 2007 by Mark Keizer
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If your last name is Kasdan, chances are you're having a great April. Jake Kasdan's The TV Set, released to strong reviews on April 6, stars David Duchovny as a television writer. Now comes Jonathan Kasdan's directing debut, In the Land of Women, in which a soft-core porn writer councils three generations of troubled ladies while on a post-breakup retreat in Michigan.

So it seems the Kasdan kids, spawn of Raiders of the Lost Ark co-scenarist Lawrence Kasdan, like to write about writers. But Jonathan's musings on interpersonal crisis management aren't incisive enough to warrant a movie. Nevertheless he has devised a way to stretch his limited insight into 98 languorous minutes that play like The Graduate remade by the CW network.

Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, adorkable 26-year old Carter (Adam Brody, presumably because Zach Braff wasn't available) decamps to Michigan to lick his wounds and help his kooky, demented grandmother (Olympia Dukakis). Living across the street from Grandma are the Hardwickes, led by Sarah (Meg Ryan), who may have cancer, and her older daughter Lucy (Kristen Stewart), who's having boy troubles.

Carter shepherds these women through their problems, but all he really does is listen to them, tell them it's gonna be okay and share a dramatic “I'm sorry, it just kinda happened” trailer-ready kiss. For his part, Carter has a close encounter with the messiness of male/female relationships, exiting the movie with an appreciation of the problems of young, middle-aged and elderly women. But, as life lessons go, it's pretty boring.

Considering the setup features three attractive, lovelorn characters, Kasdan takes a fairly high road. But his script only feigns insight. Upon his clever framework hangs a collection of stories and grievances that never gain emotional traction. He's a better director of actors, coaxing nice, low-key performances from Ryan and Dukakis, although the latter is so muted it barely registers. The same can be said for the rest of the film. Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart and Meg Ryan
Director/Screenwriter: Jonathan Kasdan
Producers: Steve Golin and David Kanter
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, thematic elements and language
Running time: 98 min.
Release date: April 20, 2007

Tags: Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, Meg Ryan, Jonathan Kasdan, romance, Olympia Dukakis, infidelity
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