And I thought the manic pixie dream girl had run her course. Apparently not, for she rears her cute, perky head again in "A Case of You," star Justin Long's debut as a writer and producer.
Here, Brooklynite Sam (Long) has tired of writing novelizations for movies like "Teen Vampire." He finds inspiration in Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood), the friendly barista at his neighborhood coffee shop with artsy friends. But instead of risking that she won't like the real him, he shapes himself into her dream guy based on her Facebook page, learning judo, French cooking and how to strum Joan Baez on the guitar.
This isn't going to end well, obviously, especially because the novel he's manically writing is basically a memoir of his experience. That the screenplay doesn't acknowledge the long-term futility of his scheme is as frustrating as his awkward encounters with a series of wacky characters played by Vince Vaughn (his inappropriate publisher), Peter Dinklage (her creepy co-worker), Sam Rockwell (his bitter guitar teacher) and Brendan Fraser (her dilettante ex).
That Long's script drew such a name supporting cast is a testament to his ability to hit the right narrative beats and his appeal as a nerdy leading man. And director Kat Coiro ("And While We Were Here") ably induces those squirmy moments when you just know it's going to go badly. "A Case of You" is perfectly enjoyable as far as indie rom coms go — just not particularly original.
'A Case of You'
MPAA rating: Unrated
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.