I Do…Until I Don’t

Lake Bell’s latest comedy considers whether the institution of marriage is broken enough to need fixing.

Writer-director Lake Bell is turning into a canny and very funny observer of the darker elements of the film business, first with In a World… and now I Do…Until I Don’t. Vivian (Dolly Wells) is an evil British documentarian working on a project that suggests marriage should be a renewable seven-year contract rather than a lifetime bind. It’s not an unreasonable thesis, but being evil — as all British documentarians tend to be in American movies — she sets about it in the worst way, trying to foment on-screen breakups among three Miami couples.

Alice (Bell) and Noah (Ed Helms) are trying to conceive, though their levels of dedication to the process are very different. Alice’s free-spirited sister Fanny (Amber Heard) and her partner Zander (Wyatt Cenac) are in an open relationship that seems to be slowly drifting toward monogamy. And Cybil (Mary Steenburgen) and Harvey (Paul Reiser) are a wealthy but unhappy older couple still together out of inertia. (Steenburgen and Reiser are also the only couple in which the woman isn’t considerably younger than the man, which is refreshing.) Bell keeps I Do…Until I Don’t sweet and light, not judging any of her characters other than Vivian, and if the ending is a bit pat, it’s still a pleasant ride to get there.

I Do…Until I Don’t
Rated R.
Opens Friday at the AMC Metreon 16.

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