It has an indy-film feel to it - a lot of little movies all playing out on their own, with just the slightest overlap of characters. (Some actors apparently never even saw each other during the filming, simply because the storylines didn't connect.) And, in creating those micro-universes, it also gave the feeling of the reality of extended friendships, as well as the way we all have "friends-in-law" who are only connected to each other through friends. (You know, like your real in-laws, who you only know because of your spouse...)
The most constant player in the movie is a young woman named Gigi who keeps believing every guy who says "I'll call" and then she gets completely heartbroken. Gigi, while... well... stalking a guy at a bar, meets Alex who is both a bartender and a guy who isn't afraid to tell her what the guys she's dating actually mean (as opposed to what they say).
Through those two characters we meet the other players: A woman who is finding that she and her husband are falling apart. That same husband who stumbles into a relationship with the woman in front of him at the Handy Mart. Then there's the bartender's friend who places a real estate ad with an unlucky-in-love ad rep at a gay weekly magazine (she has her own Greek chorus of three gay co-workers who have some great one-liners). Finally there is the unmarried couple who are friends with the married couple, but seem to be more committed than anyone else.
Got all that?
Basically, here's the deal: People looking for love. People searching for happy endings. People not always getting what they're looking for.
Broadly, here's the rest of the deal: I can't imagine any people going to the movie and not laughing out loud as they recognize themselves... or... I mean... "their friends" in what is going on on the screen.
Along with some great one-liners, there are also a bunch of inserted segments between sections of the movie (kind of like the things that happen in front of a curtain between acts of a stage show). These are populated with great people telling their own stories. And they are not to be missed. But, then, neither are any of the folks populating the universe these characters live in:
There's a set of sisters and their dysfunctional marriages all hanging around after their father has a wedding-related heart attack. There are all of the construction workers renovating a row home - but not smoking. There's the waiter in the bar who can't understand why his striped and spattered shirt isn't considered "black." And although we don't meet him, there's an older guy in a boat just one dock over who is very nice and happy to offer you a white wine spritzer. And, well, I enjoyed meeting every one of them.
Expect this to be the hot Valentine's Day date movie of the year? No - it's too realistic. Go to it expecting to laugh out loud and maybe even get a little teary by the time it's done? Yes. So just go. (Well... unless you have to go to one of the Oscar-nominated flicks...)
Overall rating: A- (It gets the minus because it's supposedly set in Baltimore, but aside from one or two exterior shots and the use of Clipper City ale, they didn't do anything with the city - not even having any of the couples call each other "hon." And that was just wrong.)