Before You Could Count on Him, Mark Ruffalo (Just Like Heaven) was the boy next door in a tired romantic comedy that has little new to say, and says it in no new way. Ruffalo’s Alex is a failed painter and recent dumpee who, kicked out of the apartment he shared with his now ex-girlfriend, moves into the eponymous dwelling in a rundown complex only to find — surprise! — that his neighbors are wacky and the girl across the hall, Lori (Beth Ulrich), just might be the woman of his dreams, if only he can reconcile himself with the fact that she’s not all he had hoped for in a life partner. Dating from 2001, the film — also known as Life/Drawing — is worth catching only for Ruffalo’s effortless charm, and perhaps for one unusual thematic approach: this may be the first film in cinematic history that dares to suggest that a man should lower his expectations in order to secure a mate. (I gotta agree with Alex that an artist can reasonably require that a woman worthy of him will have heard of Jackson Pollack and know what the term “avant garde” means.) The film is, bizarrely, presented in full-screen format, and the only extra material of substance is an interview with Ruffalo.
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