Films about men in their thirties who refuse to grow up have become practically a genre (see: every Zach Braff movie). What director Zoe Cassavetes offers is the other side of the coin—the thirty-something woman who can’t quite get it together.
Shy almost to the point of dysfunction, Nora Wilder (Parker Posey) smokes too many cigarettes, drinks too much, dislikes her career, and sleeps with inappropriate men. As others her age settle into marriage, she grows increasingly fixated on her romantic failures, confused as to why love eludes her when others seem to find it with ease. When a promising new love interest arrives, Nora hopes the romance will be a success but anticipates a disaster.
Luckily, the surprisingly uncharismatic relationship between the two lovers is not the most interesting part of the film. The best part is watching Nora unravel her eccentric behavior. Because of her indecisiveness, she allows others to make decisions for her; because of her fear, she hides from both adventure and commitment. Her idea of love conflates a genuine longing for companionship just as much as it represents a desire to escape from a status quo of her own making.
Unfortunately, this element of introspection can’t save the film from the pitfalls of romantic comedy territory. What began as an interesting character study ends in convention, offering only the most clichéd platitudes in summation. You can’t find true love until you love yourself? Hasn’t Dr. Phil been telling us that for years?