Adam Brody seems to carry the essence of his “OC” character, Seth Cohen, in every film that he is featured in. And Brody’s latest film, “In the Land of Women,” is no different.
We first meet Brody’s character, Carter Webb, in a Los Angeles diner as he is getting dumped by his movie starlet girlfriend. Tears fill Carter’s eyes as he receives the news of the split. He describes this girlfriend as his first true love. Carter is a 24-year-old soft-core porn screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles.
After the break-up, Carter decides that he needs a change of pace. He informs his mother that he is going to stay with his elderly grandmother in Michigan for some time.
When Carter arrives at his grandmother’s house, he soon realizes why his mother warned him against doing so. Carter’s grandmother, Phyllis, is a bit crazy. She is a hypochondriac who is convinced that she is dying, yet she is not sick.
Carter’s fruitless attempts at instilling normalcy in the house are crushed by Phyllis. She answers the door in her underwear, tells him she is dying and watches him while he sleeps.
Amidst the domestic dysfunction, Carter encounters even more dysfunction when he meets Sarah Hardwicke (Meg Ryan). Sarah lives across the street from Phyllis. She strikes up a friendly relationship with Carter when he joins her to walk the Hardwicke family dog. Sarah and Carter hit it off and make a regular occurrence of the dog walks.
The bond between the pair grows deeper when they share intimate details about their own relationships to one another.
Carter tells Sarah about the love letters he wrote to his ex-girlfriend and Sarah informs Carter that her husband is having an affair.
As the relationship progresses, Sarah must come clean about her secretive omissions. She is sick and will soon begin receiving treatment for breast cancer.
In the pouring rain, Sarah confides in Carter that she is scared to begin the chemotherapy. And out of nowhere, he kisses her. Now things get complicated.
Enter Sarah’s oldest daughter Lucy Hardwicke. Lucy is a high school student and a troubled, rebellious artist. She is a stereotypical sullen teen. Lucy and Carter meet when he catches her smoking on the roof.
A friendship ignites when Sarah suggests that Lucy take Carter to the movies because he has no friends in Michigan.
Soon after, Carter and Lucy are going to a high school party together. They discuss John Hughes’ movies on the football field and Lucy divulges her innermost secret to him. All of this leads up to a passionate kiss between Lucy and Carter.
In a jealous state, Sarah forbids Carter to see Lucy again. Sarah is sicker than ever from the chemotherapy, but the treatment is working. After a fainting spell, Sarah ends up in the hospital and finally has a long overdue talk with Lucy.
Everything wraps up in a rather predictable fashion – Carter finally begins to write a legitimate screenplay, Lucy falls for a decent boy her age, Sarah is in remission and Phyllis dies of old age.
All in all, the film was not that great. As the name implies, it was a serious chick flick. But this is a chick flick gone wrong.
It was highly melodramatic, to the point that scenes that were meant to bring tears incited laughter from audience members.
However, credit is due to Adam Brody who brought his usual subtle charm and quirky sense of humor to an otherwise pointless film. Despite the fact that his Cohen-ness is ever-present, he grounded the movie and garnered audiences’ interest.