Cinema Review: Maggie's Plan | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Maggie’s Plan

Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Directed by Rebecca Miller

May 24, 2016 Issue # 57 - M83
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Maggie is a thirty-something New Yorker with a history of control issues and bad relationships. Believing that she will never find a man who will love her long enough to give her a child, Maggie plans to artificially inseminate herself by way of an old college friend. Complications arise when she begins an affair with a married professor and aspiring novelist named John.

On paper, Maggie’s Plan reads like indie dramedy filmmaking 101. Developmentally arrested young adult living in New York City? Check. Plausible but vaguely high-concept plot hook? Check. An excellent cast well versed in both comedy and drama? Check. It’s unfortunate then that film plays like a stiff, awkward parody of the genre, rather than as a satisfying entry in its own right.

Cast as less appealing versions of the characters they perfected in the films of Noah Baumbach and Richard Linklater, Greta Gerwig and Ethan Hawke have the breezy chemistry one would expect from two indie comedy mainstays, but the film never sells Maggie and John’s relationship as one that’s worth any audience investment. The film fast tracks their romance in order to show that the fairy tale endings of normal romantic comedies would likely not play out as neatly in real life. But their initial relationship was never deeply felt to begin with and the character’s foibles, which the film clearly wants to play as funny, just make them seem tiresome and unlikable. Equally squandered are the always welcome Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph as Maggie’s supportive friends. The only person who comes away looking good is Julianne Moore as Hawke’s wife who, despite being saddled with a ridiculous German accent, manages to wring both laughs and some real emotion out of a character that verges on cartoonish.

Author rating: 2/10

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