Divorced parents, the fall-out on their kids and the self-absorption of the writer's life can make for fine comic drama: consider The Squid and the Whale a few years back.
This one goes the same dysfunctional distance, but with hugs and sobs instead of jokes – more like "The Squeeze and the Wail".
Good things include Greg Kinnear as a novelist who's lost his mojo and Jennifer Connelly as the estranged wife he comedy-stalks in the hope she'll take him back.
As their daughter, Lily Collins is supposedly a hot new novelist, despite a youthfulness that suggests she's just read the last Harry Potter. Nat Wolff is likeable as the son, a Stephen King nut with a soft centre, and Kristen Bell raises a laugh as a fitness fanatic.
First-time writer-director Josh Boone is too eager to please, and sets up crises (a terminally ill mother, a schoolgirl's drug addiction) as a means of exhibiting his characters' sensitivity.
He doesn't convey any great understanding of the literary world, either, with Kinnear quoting some of the least resonant lines Raymond Carver wrote. But his cast go some way to saving his film.