Looking at the specifics of Maggie's Plan, it seems like the kind of film that would be perfect for Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach to tackle. She plays a professional New York woman struggling to find that work/life balance in the big city, until she has an affair with a married man that turns everything upside down. It doesn't sound too far off from Gerwig's recent roles in Frances Ha and Mistress America. There's just one problem: Maggie's Plan is written and directed by Rebecca Miller (The Ballad of Jack and Rose), and not Noah Baumbach.
At least that was the conclusion I drew when figuring out why the film didn't work for me at Sundance, even though our own Mae Abdulbaki liked it a bit more. Gerwig stars alongside Ethan Hawke, Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, and Maya Rudolph in the story of Maggie, who desperately wants to have a child and gets her wish...except its by the married professor she's been having an affair with. Here's the official synopsis because things only get more complicated:
In Rebecca Miller's witty modern romantic comedy MAGGIE'S PLAN, Greta Gerwig portrays Maggie Hardin, a vibrant and practical thirty-something New Yorker working in education, who without success in finding love, decides now is the time to have a child on her own. But when she meets John Harding (Ethan Hawke), an anthropology professor and struggling novelist, Maggie falls in love for the first time, and adjusts her plans for motherhood. Complicating matters, John is in an unhappy marriage with Georgette Harding (Julianne Moore), an ambitious academic who is driven by her work. With some help from Maggie's eccentric and hilarious best friends, married couple Tony (Bill Hader) and Felicia (Maya Rudolph), Maggie sets in motion a new plan that intertwines their lives and connects them in surprising and humorous ways. Maggie learns that sometimes destiny should be left to its own devices. MAGGIE'S PLAN is a sweet, sophisticated and funny exploration of the unexpected complexities of modern romance, mixing heart and humor in a story of the delightful variability of relationships over the course of time.
Miller seems to be trying to channel Baumbach at every turn, and some of that comes through in the new trailer. Another part of the problem is Gerwig, who seems to have fallen into a rut playing the same type of adrift character. Maggie's Plan opens on May 20th.