December 30, 2012 -- Love triangles are often dangerous and unstable, like some chemical compounds. This film is about a different kind of romantic triangle which proves to be dangerous and very tricky in its own way.
Jack (played by Mark Duplass of “Safety Not Guaranteed”) is unemployed and emotionally unstable. After an embarrassing and socially awkward speech about his late brother at a family get-together, his friend, Iris (Emily Blunt of “The Adjustment Bureau”) suggests he spend the winter at her father's island cottage in Washington State. She says he needs “alone time” to get his head straight. She has a hidden agenda.
Jack goes to the island and finds the summer home, but it is not deserted. Unbeknownst to him or Iris another family member is staying there, Iris' lesbian sister, Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”). Jack gets up in the middle of the night and has a heart-to-heart talk with Iris, who has just broken up with her lover. The better part of a bottle of tequila later, the two have an ill-advised sexual encounter.
The next morning, Iris shows up. Jack advises Hannah not to say anything to Iris about what happened the night before. Hannah does not understand until Iris confesses that she is in love with Jack, but never had the nerve to tell him. This explains Iris' appearance at the island. The three dance around these dangerous issues until it gets too awkward and all secrets are laid bare and emotional fireworks break loose. It turns out that Hannah also has a hidden agenda of her own.
Jack doesn't want to get between the two sisters and cause more of a rift than he already has. The house has gotten too small for the three of them. He goes off the leave the two sisters to work out their own issues. Living in a tent on the island, he finally has some “alone time” to think things over and he comes to a decision. Among other things, he is going to have to finally grow up. Now he has to find out if the sisters will agree with his plan.
The film, directed by Lynn Shelton of “Hump Day,” is extremely talky and mostly confined to interior scenes, despite the lovely island location, which is under utilized. There is some witty banter and some interesting developments (some are not revealed in this review) but it is a film with a pretty slow pace for a romantic comedy. The acting is solid by the three leads. This film rates a C+.
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