The Kasdan Family has made a significant mark on the better films of Hollywood and Jon Kasdan (writer/director of IN THE LAND OF WOMEN) holds those values of fine cinema intact. Having appeared as an actor in some films of his father Lawrence Kasdan (Grand Canyon, The Big Chill, Body Heat, Mumford, Dreamcatcher, The Bodyguard, etc), he has not only inherited his father's credo of making meaningful statements about life as we are currently living it, he has absorbed the fluid character development of those films and added his own sensitive touch with graceful dialog. He is a talent to watch.
Soft porn writer Carter Webb (Adam Brody in a very fine performance) lives in Los Angeles near his depressed mother (JoBeth Williams) and has just been dumped by his actress girlfriend Sofia Buñuel (Elena Anaya). When his mother learns of her mother's failing state, the distraught Carter offers to travel to suburban Michigan to stay with his grandma Phyllis (Olympia Dukakis). Once in picturesque Michigan Carter deals with his lovable but eccentric grandma and meets the across the street neighbors - mother Sarah (Meg Ryan in fine form), daughters Lucy (Kristin Stewart) and the younger Paige (Makenzie Vega), and errant husband Nelson (Clark Gregg). In this setting of a 'woman world' Carter is key to aiding the various maladies of each of the women while addressing his own disappointing failed relationship. The manner in which he intervenes by simply being present and tender and caring makes a positive impact on not only those around him but also on his own life and talent as a meaningful writer.
In what could have been a soupy chick flick Jon Kasdan has instead provided a script that has a healthy dose of homespun philosophy and has guided his multi-talented cast to offer some of their finest moments on film. This is an entertaining movie, but it is also a balm for viewers who have experienced life-threatening illness, broken homes, coping with the elderly, and ultimately coping with death. It simply works. Grady Harp, October 07