Charming (if familiar), mature NYC-set ensemble romcom.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Almost Love is an ensemble romantic comedy set in New York City. It's about a diverse group of characters dealing with a variety of personal issues. Actor-turned-writer/director Mike Doyle's first feature doesn't shy away from strong language (particularly "f--k," but also "s--t," "a--hole," and "p---y"). But sex is limited to a few kisses, conversations about frequency of sex, and one sex act gone awry that ends up with both partners in pain. There's one kiss between an adult woman and an underage young man. Characters drink socially, and one supposedly-in-AA character is seen sneaking drinks. Friends slap each other playfully, and a dying character is shown in a hospital bed. The movie explores mature themes like adultery, monogamy, homelessness, and professional dissatisfaction. Both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are featured. The humor is pretty typical of the genre: bad dates, miscommunications, opposites attracting, and more.
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What's the Story?
ALMOST LOVE opens with an awkward double date between Adam (Scott Evans) and Marklin (Augustus Prew) -- who are celebrating their fifth anniversary -- and Cammy (Michelle Buteau) and her new love interest, Henry (Colin Donnell). As Adam, a "ghost painter" for a critically acclaimed artist, and Marklin, a popular men's fashion influencer, enter couples' therapy, they discover that their friends are also struggling in their romantic lives. Cammy has discovered that Henry isn't just "cheap," he's actually temporarily homeless. College-prep tutor Haley (Zoe Chao) has a 17-year-old student who's in love with her. And long-married Elizabeth (Kate Walsh) might not be as happy as she seems.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fine, if not remarkable, entry in the overpopulated genre of New York City-set romcoms about privileged characters with heart. Evans is a standout as Adam, the artist who's set aside his own original work to paint what a much more famous artist simply signs her name to and claims as her own. His mid-30s crisis is the most believable, as he attempts to navigate a safe but stalled career alongside the meteoric rise of his influencer partner. And Prew deserves notice for making that modern job of internet-famous social media influencer seem like real, old-fashioned work. He's wearing a $4,000 coat, but he manages not to be a vapid or vain caricature.
Although there are three talented actresses in Almost Love -- TV veteran Walsh and comedians Buteau and Chao -- their storylines are all supporting. Buteau is the funniest as Cammy, who can't figure out whether to laugh or cry about the fact that she's sleeping with someone without an address. And Chao exudes goody-goody charm as a tutor who likes to be needed by her cute (if clueless) student, Scott James (Christopher Gray). The always excellent Patricia Clarkson makes a far too short appearance as Ravella Brewer, the artist who outsources her paintings; if only she could have been in more scenes. Although the film's tone occasionally steers too far toward drama for a romantic comedy, it's still a solid romcom debut for writer/director Doyle.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the popularity of ensemble romantic comedies. Why are they so likable? Which are some of your favorites?
Discuss the class issues present in Almost Love. How do the characters approach each other differently because of their class status? Is the portrayal of someone who's temporarily homeless funny?
Do you consider anyone in the movie a role model? If so, what character strengths do they display?
- On DVD or streaming: April 3, 2020
- Cast: Scott Evans, Kate Walsh, Michelle Buteau
- Director: Mike Doyle
- Studio: Vertical
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Compassion
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 15, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Heartfelt dramedy has strong story and characters.
He's Just Not That Into You
Appealing but unsurprising romcom dispenses familiar wisdom.
Mushy ensemble romcom sticks to formula; some sexy stuff.
Romantic and entertaining -- for older teens.
How I Met Your Mother
Clever sitcom about love features sex talk, drinking.
Hilarious sitcom for adults and older teens.
Spirited buddy comedy with alcohol, drugs, sex, language.
Always Be My Maybe
Upbeat romcom has some swearing, sex, drugs.
For kids who love romcoms
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