Film Review: A Case of YouUltra-genial and very actor-friendly, but ultimately too thin Facebook-driven rom-com.
There is nothing the hero of A Case of You, a writer named Sam (Justin Long), fears more than being called a hack. Yet how else to describe someone who scribbles novelizations of films like Teen Vampire while facing an eternal writer's block? He is also blocked communicatively, as he is terminally unable to tell the crush of his dreams, Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), his local barista, that he loves her. Instead, he cyber-stalks her on Facebook, discovers all of her personal "likes," and sets about immersing himself in them, be they judo, bourbon, Carlos Castaneda, gourmet cooking or being able to play Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" on the guitar. Romance eventually starts to bloom between them, but we all know that he is going to have to come clean to her about his unhealthy obsessiveness sooner or later.
Always likeable actor Long extends himself as co-screenwriter, and shows a talent for a well-spun laugh line and wry observation. The early scenes hum agreeably with his funny encounters with a roommate, Eliot (Keir O'Donnell), who is always masturbating to images of older women, from Carrie Fisher to Martha Stewart, and with his slick publisher, played to weaselly perfection by Vince Vaughn, who pitches him future projects like AlienDoomTomb.com. Additionally, the movie is liberally sprinkled with cameos from a rich assortment of actors, all of them no doubt Long's good buds. Peter Dinklage is amusing as Birdie's weird, fey co-worker harboring his own obsession with Sam; a very shaggy Brendan Fraser happily divests himself of any prior physical attractiveness as her singer ex; Sam Rockwell brings added weirdness as Sam's guitar instructor, and Sienna Miller really effaces herself as that strangely self-pleasuring Eliot's girlfriend. In even smaller roles, beloved New York stage actors like Priscilla Lopez and Lynn Cohen add their genial presences.
The film's basic thinness, however, becomes all too apparent in the film's second half. Simply not enough happens, and the screenwriters might have been wise to add a subsidiary relationship plotline to the mix, focus more on Sam's attempts at more serious writing, or just give those hungry, generous and funny actor pals more to do. Long does make a fit, smart urban Everyman (as he was in that ribald classic, Waiting), but Wood's character isn't developed much beyond its gorgeous but down-to-earth blonde dream girl parameters. She's a good, strong actress and definitely deserved more here.