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Ghost Canyon

'In the Land of Women'
(Adam Brody, Kristen Stewart, et al / DVD / PG-13/ 2007 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: His world in complete disorder after his break-up with a famous actress, Carter, a young soft-core porn writer, goes to suburban Detroit to care for his sickly Grandmother and heal his broken heart. Along the way he forms a special bond with the family that lives across from his Grandma, and changes the live of each woman. In the course of this, as is required in every film--and thus the world, he changes his own life as well.

DVD Verdict: 'In The Land Of Women' is Adam Brody's first real attempt at taking the lead in a cinematic adventure - but, like everything else in this clumsy, uneven picture, the results are underwhelming. Itís a shame because itís also a failed gamble for Jon Kasdan, son of Lawrence Big Chill Kasdan, who makes his unsatisfying film writing/directing debut. And Meg Ryan, anxious to work again, is back from the dead, although the current state of her face suggests otherwise!

The story begins with Carter (Brody), a softcore porn writer (no joke), getting dumped by his beautiful, actress girlfriend (Sofia BuŮuel) in a Hollywood coffee shop. A group of young girls bounce over to the table to get her autograph as he sulks with tears fogging up his eyes. Realizing a change is in order, he packs up his bags and heads to Michigan to stay with his grumpy, hypochondriac grandma (Olympia Dukakis, providing the filmís few laughs).

Across the street is a family dominated by three women: Sarah (Ryan), a lonely mom recently diagnosed with breast cancer; Lucy (Panic Roomís Kristen Stewart), a popular teenager with a knack for painting; and Paige (Makenzie Vega), the type of precocious kid that speaks like sheís on 'Dawsonís Creek', one of Kasdanís prior writing credits. The sole man in the house is the ill-fleshed-out husband that is given no personality trait outside of "cheater."

'In The Land Of Women' attempts to be a chick flick that revolves around a sensitive male lead, something that distinguishes it from the droves of other pseudo-romantic movies. But there is nothing about it that rings true--itís a huge misfire that falsely parades around like something important. You know youíre in trouble when Sarah says, "I donít want to look back on my life and wonder which part belonged to me," and itís intended to be wildly profound.

Sadly, thatís only scratching the surface of the pretense. In typical movie form, she does the empowering "self-haircut" in front of the mirror when it begins to fall out. Thereís yet another passionate kiss in the rain (donít characters ever check the forecast?). And, naturally, a moment where one girl spins the car around when she realizes she loves someone.

The fact that the film tries to be The Graduate (May-December flirtations) meets Garden State (stunted 20-something bogged down by life) just makes its failure all the more apparent. It frankly has more in common with TVís similarly inept "writer tries to find himself" saga 'October Road.' This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of just Subtitles in English, French and Spanish.