Neil LaBute adapts his bracingly astute play into a series of scenes that make us question how men and women ever come together to make a relationship work. The central idea is that we hurt each other even when we don't mean to, and through a series of face-offs between a man and his ex-girlfriends, the film leaves us wondering what we might have done to our own partners along the way.
At the centre is a writer (Brody) in his 30s, who wants to clear away his relational baggage before he gets married. He flies first to Seattle to meet his school girlfriend Sam (Morrison). She's now married with kids, and he wants to talk about their break-up. "You ended it," she corrects him. And he finds his memories equally unreliable as he visits Tyler (Maestro) in Chicago, Lindsay (Watson) in Boston, Reggie (Kazan) back in Seattle again and Bobbi (Bell) in Los Angeles. While zig-zagging across America he begins to realise that he was always the problem.
As the scenes unfold, Brody's unnamed character reveals himself as weak, shallow and self-absorbed, but also relentlessly charming. it's a brave, transparent performance that takes on resonance as he begins to understand that he's flawed and, even worse, ordinary. Opposite him, the women are all variations on a fantasy: the good girl, the sex pot, the experienced older woman, the flirty little sister of his best friend, the brainy hottie. They're superbly well-played by these actresses; Watson's piercing honesty is the stand-out, while Kazan's role is the most haunting.
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