Writer/director Austin Chick's debut wastes little time on introductions, kicking off in 1993 with a college-party three-in-a-bed involving Cole (Mark Ruffalo), Sam (Maya Stange) and Thea (Kathleen Robertson). But the mood soon changes from sexy to soapy, Chick's flick emerging as a watchable relationship comedy-drama about having the balls to make choices and then live with them.
As the sibling screw-up in You Can Count On Me, Mark Ruffalo made a near-unlikeable character compelling. He pulls off the same trick in In The Cut, also out this month. Here, he's every bit as good as a feckless love-rat, a guy who seems incapable of keeping his dick in his pants and his relationships on track.
Trouble is, Chick's screenplay doesn't feed the other players enough scraps to flesh out their roles, and the lack of depth leaves the actresses a little shortchanged. Petra Wright does the best job as Claire, the woman who Cole "settles for" 10 years on from his college ménage à trois. But even she can't fully escape Ruffalo's shadow.
After all, here is a character that's well-written, fascinating and played by one of the most interesting actors working today. How can you compete against that?