Kinnear is on reliable form here as blocked writer Bill Borgens. Separated from his wife (the ever gorgeous Connelly) he is also wrestling with the problems of his offspring
Promiscuous daughter Sam (Collins) is resentful of her ma leaving him and has the shutters down on attaining a romantic relationship with anyone, while her teenage brother Rusty (Wolf) is experiencing the pangs of first love with troubled Kate (Liberato), who is overdoing the drink and drugs in secret. Bill has instilled in his children the love of writing – both are gifted in the art – but how they bring their talents to fruition is not how he quite envisioned.
This is very much a movie family – they are not characters one can readily identify with. Bill lives in an attractive beachside property and has regular sex sessions with the beautiful (married) neighbour Bell, for example. But that said, the cast acquit themselves most adeptly. Collins really gets a chance to shine here after the sweet-toothed Mirror Mirror. She makes Sam a fully-rounded character as she thaws in the company of fellow student Lou (Lerman). Steely and strong at first, her opening up to love is charmingly depicted as she wrestles with her feelings towards her new beau as well as her mother.
For most of the way, this is a most likeable and winning effort. The players are so engaging that one can forgive the fact that it all becomes too "Hollywood" at the end. It's a small affair overall and quickly forgettable, but when in these characters' company one is happy to spend time with them. Perfect for a rainy afternoon.
EXTRAS Nothing at all, which is most unfortunate.