What does 'Women' want?

Tale of young sex magnet quickly loses attraction

Posted: April 20, 2007

"In the Land of Women" is about a guy who, we are told, has always been a magnet for women.

Carter (Adam Brody) loses his girlfriend in the very first scene, but his mom advises him not to worry: "Women have always been drawn to you."

We see evidence of this when he moves to Michigan to take care of his aging grandmother (Olympia Dukakis), who lives across the street from an attractive housewife (Meg Ryan) and her pretty teenage daughter (Kristen Stewart). This is effective casting, since it's a rare case of movie mom and daughter who actually look alike.

Anyway, Carter ends up entangled with both of them, which is an accomplishment, since mother and daughter don't get along - mostly a one-way street occupied by a surly teenager who mistakes her mother's sacrifice for weakness and her criticisms for a deficit of love.

Both women need a confidant to help them make sense of this, and while dad's not around much, Carter seems to be around all the time - to the mom he's an idealized memory of young love, to the daughter he represents the attraction of the older guy.

Into this mix, writer-director Jonathan Kasdan throws two plot twists of the soapy whopper variety, which is one (possibly two) soapy whoppers too many.

The movie seemed to be getting along fine without the melodrama. At times, it seems to be getting along just fine without Carter, but maybe that's just me.

Irresistible? I resisted, or maybe I just had a hard time with his character, a passive-aggressive opportunist for whom the phrase "I'm here for you" is a double entendre. He (or director Kasdan) doesn't seem to understand that his consultations with vulnerable women are a form of flirtation and seduction, that he shouldn't be leading on either woman, let alone both. *

Produced by Steve Golin, David Kanter, written and directed by Jonathan Kasdan, distributed by Warner Independent.

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