All About Adam

A former O.C. star shows there's life after adolescence.

In the Land of Women Written and directed by Jonathan Kasdan. Starring Adam Brody, Meg Ryan, Kristen Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, and Elena Anaya.

Rated PG-13. Opens Friday.

Adam Brody's whining ways may win over movie audiences.
Adam Brody's whining ways may win over movie audiences.
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 in In the Land of Women 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 confidante. 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 current box-office competitor Jake -- lays on the saccharine pronouncements thick. Without all the soppy plot devices, In the Land of Women might have been someplace worth visiting.

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