Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Do ... until I Don't Director-Star Lake Bell's Comic 'I Do' Explores Marriage on a Short-Term Contract

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

I Do ... until I Don't Director-Star Lake Bell's Comic 'I Do' Explores Marriage on a Short-Term Contract

Article excerpt

What if marriage came without the death-do-us-part sentence? What if it were a seven-year lease contract, with option to renew?

That's the problematic premise of "I Do ... Until I Don't," a new ensemble comedy from writer-director-star Lake Bell - the first since her wonderful debut feature "In a World." (2013).

The multitalented Ms. Bell plays shy, submissive Alice, caught in her bland marriage and bland Vero Beach home with Noah (Ed Helms), whose blind business is waning. The business isn't sightless - it's blinds, as in Venetian. They're having trouble having a baby. Well, first, they're having trouble getting their libidos on the same schedule, despite a state-of-the-art app on Noah's smartphone. Upon consulting it, he announces:

"You are ovulating! Meet me in the bathroom in 5!"

Not quite as seductive as a romantic candlelit dinner with Johnny Mathis' "Chances Are" playing softly in the background.

The answer to Alice's dilemma seems to materialize at a Vero Beach Cultural Society lecture by charismatic "motivational" speaker Vivian Prudeck (Dolly Wells). She's a cutting-edge British documentary maker ("Tween Jungle"), now searching for subjects to confirm her hypothesis that people live too long to stay together permanently these days, and that marriage should be a seven-year renewable deal.

"She's so riveting!" says Alice, enthralled by Vivian and her new movie. She begs to be in it (with Noah) - for free. Viv must pay the two other (less naive) couples she needs for the privilege of manipulating them on camera: cynical Realtor Cybil (Mary Steenburgen) and cycle-riding husband Harvey (Paul Reiser), whose obviously toxic marriage guarantees an impending divorce; and Alice's own sister Fanny (Amber Heard) and hippie hubby Zander (Wyatt Cenac), whose sexy "open" marriage Vivian plans to close - leading up to the climactic Emancipation Day event in which all three dysfunctional couples will publicly make her case.

Alice's brief foray into sex work at the local massage parlor serves to create a connection among them, and as a good excuse to give us the hilarious Chauntae Pink as Bonnie ("Call me Bon-Bon! …

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