Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far The 20 Worst Films Of 2015 So Far New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet New Images Of Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, More In 'Batman v. Superman,' Ben Affleck Compares Batman To Hamlet Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Paul Thomas Anderson To Write And Possibly Direct Warner Bros' ‘Pinocchio’ For Robert Downey Jr. Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke Review: ‘Terminator: Genisys’ Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Jason Clarke 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season

Review: Insipid, Painful Rom-Com 'A Case Of You' Starring Evan Rachel Wood & Justin Long

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist November 5, 2013 at 7:05PM

It was only a matter of time before someone tried to fully exploit the social media age for the evils of the generic romantic comedy and "A Case Of You," a new Justin Long-led rom-com, does just that; abusing the Facebook platform to create the first FB stalker comedy. Somehow, everything creepy and vile in this Kat Coiro-directed comedy ("L!fe Happens") is meant to seem comically cute and not the restraining-order freaky that it clearly is. Like all of these meretricious and morally reprehensible culture-farts, it’s presented as harmless and adorable at heart, but as the central quintessentially dorky character becomes more and more fawning and subservient, the actors themselves seem to border on queasiness.
1
A Case Of You

It was only a matter of time before someone tried to fully exploit the social media age for the evils of the generic romantic comedy and "A Case of You," a new Justin Long-led rom-com, does just that; abusing the Facebook platform to create the first FB stalker comedy. Somehow, everything creepy and vile in this Kat Coiro-directed comedy ("L!fe Happens") is meant to seem comically cute and not the restraining-order freaky that it clearly is. Like all of these meretricious and morally reprehensible culture-farts, it’s presented as harmless and adorable at heart, but as the central quintessentially dorky character becomes more and more fawning and subservient, the actors themselves seem to border on queasiness.

Evan Rachel Wood Justin Long A Case Of You

Co-produced, co-written and starring Justin Long and his pals, "A Case of You" is premised as a classic, nice-guys-finish-last romantic comedy where the nice guy actually manages to succeed, in spite of his spectacular ineptness. Long stars as Sam, a 20-something, Brooklyn-based manboy hack writer who pens novelizations of movies. He loathes the gig and aspires to write more personal literature, but novelizations are what pay the bills and his literary agent (Vince Vaughn) is more than happy to keep the steady work flowing.

As plot points go, Sam becoming instantly crushed-out and smitten with Birdie, the Brooklynite barista of his local coffee shop (Evan Rachel Wood), is perhaps one of the laziest "hey, let's get this narrative moving" devices ever conceived. But the film shrugs and goes there anyway. Shy and insecure Justin and cardboard cut-out Birdie meet when the awkward manchild finally musters up the courage to start up an artlessly unsophisticated conversation with her (a conversation that other customers openly sigh at and mock). Self-deprecation is the modus operandi for "A Case of You," but the writers are clearly not aware that abusing this tenor the way they do makes characters unbearably pathetic to the point that you cannot in good conscience root for them.

A Case Of You

This already formulaic affair then quickly goes from rather brainless and predictable to utterly insipid when Birdie gets fired, and to track her down, the would-be author decides to Facebook stalk her on the advice from his roommate (Keir O'Donnell, the weird black sheep sibling in “Wedding Crashers”) who 'hilariously' spends all day masturbating to pictures of Martha Stewart and present-day Carrie Fisher (no, really). Instead of contacting Birdie, Justin begins to study her FB page trying to master all her hobbies (cooking, rockwall climbing, ballroom dancing, judo, guitar playing, improv) and creative interests, favorite books, movies, musicians, poets (Joan Baez, Walt Whitman, etc.) in hopes of appearing to be the perfect mate when he finally does try and ask her out. Not only is this creepy and pathetic (though diverting enough for some in our crowd), but Sam inadvertently sublimates his own personality into even more of a bland non-entity as he seeks to pose as an expert in all her favorite pastimes. Of course, Birdie eventually falls for Sam, but the weight of masquerading as someone else soon becomes emotionally and psychically exhausting; especially when she finally clues into the fact that he’s a fraud and she’s fallen in love with an alter-ego that doesn’t actually exist.

"A Case of You" employs every unendurable cliché in the book—montage sequences of Sam becoming familiar with Birdie's interests, goofy and bad pop songs (Spin Doctors), a superficially bouncy score, and the requisite cringeworthy obstacles (such as when, posing as a guitarist, Sam is horribly embarrassed when Birdie's ex-boyfriend played by Brendan Fraser invites him to jam onstage at a gig). Early on, the film is essentially a hairbrained series of “wacky” incidents and mishaps as Sam tries to become what he believes is Birdie’s ideal man. Later on, dumb gags include stoner clichés and tired jokes that are telegraphed from a mile away. Unfunny, broad and all too familiar, "A Case of You" is a paint-by-numbers romantic comedy of the very worst kind, one that tried to act as a cautionary how-not-date tale but actually ends up as one of the best how-not-to-write rom-coms of the century so far.

Peter Dinklage Case of You

Penned by Justin Long, Christian Long and aforementioned co-star Keir O'Donnell, "A Case of You" never seems to know when to give its character some reprieve and a little dignity. Sam’s a tool that they abuse for comedic purposes, but because they rarely respect him as writers, neither do we as an audience. The opening sequence has the main character trying to write his first novel with snippets of prose being written and deleted and the author finally commenting that he is "drowning in a sea of cliches" (no shit). Later on, the aggressive emasculation of this character is so brutal that the writers, clearly aware that you probably have zero respect for this character, create a scene where Vince Vaughn's agent character and his partner (Peter Billingsley) tear apart the protagonist of the the novel, which that is a not-even-thinly veiled retelling of the movie's central romance. They rip the character apart for being lost, desperate, pathetic and without balls or persona because that's exactly what Sam is: a eunuch-like Ken doll who trades his meagre dignity to get this girl. By then we practically want him to fail.

"A Case of You" is unbearable, but give the producers some credit for the strong supporting cast who generates most of the few laughs and deserve to be spared from the floods of execrations that will surely follow this movie. Every moment Sam Rockwell is on screen is laugh-out-loud funny (about three brief scenes as a doofus guitar teacher). Vince Vaughn (playing Vince Vaughn of course) is mostly, kind-of funny and there's a gag with an old man in a ballroom that pays off with one big laugh. This means the writers, joke-wise, are not entirely bankrupt, should they ever wish to try a bit harder with characterization, plot and so forth. Peter Dinklage plays a flamboyantly gay coffee barista and is also pretty funny if you can look past how hatefully cartoonish his character is. Busy Phillips also makes an appearance.

A Case Of You

But aside from these few sparkles, this insufferable film is insulting, loathsome and banal. One has to wonder what many of the intelligent and above-this-crap actors involved (especially the eminently capable Evan Rachel Wood, playing a sub-MPD here) thought they were making when they got involved in this.

There’s some interesting ideas floating around about identity, manhood, and what it means to connect with someone in an over-connected world, but “A Case of You” (named for a Joni Mitchell song that’s not actually in the film) never actively explores them. Instead, it delves into generic rom-com and ropey cliché to little comic effect. [D+]

This is a reprint of our review from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.

This article is related to: Reviews, Review, A Case Of You, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Peter Dinklage, Vince Vaughn, Carrie Fisher, Sam Rockwell


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates