Adam Brody made his name playing a neurotic, self-absorbed California Jew on The O.C., so it's no surprise that he's cast here as a narcissistic, whiny Los Angeles Heeb named Carter Webb. (Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue like Seth Cohen, does it?) In this maudlin, formulaic affair, Webb goes to suburban Michigan to take care of his ailing grandmother (Olympia Dukakis) and to nurse a broken heart. Instead, he ends up befriending a quietly dysfunctional mother-daughter duo (Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart) who teach him the real—as opposed to the fake—meaning of love. Brody shows glimpses of life after suspended adolescence, Dukakis is surly and hilarious, and JoBeth Williams is winning if underused as Carter's mother and confidant. Too bad Meg Ryan's new plastic face keeps us from noticing her decent-enough performance as a disaffected mom. And too bad writer-director Jon Kasdan—son of Lawrence and brother of Jake (see The TV Set, below)—lays on the saccharine pronouncements thick. Without all the soppy plot devices, Land of Women might have been someplace worth visiting.
What have they done to Meg Ryan's face???
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., April 20. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes.