“It’s a mystery of human chemistry and I don’t understand it; some people, as far as their senses are concerned, just feel like home.”
Rob (John Cusack) is thrown by the sudden departure of longtime girlfriend, Laura (Iben Hjejle). The breakup confuses Rob so much that he studies the rolodex of his dating history to figure out what’s wrong with all these women – or maybe what’s wrong with him.
Lots of people have trouble settling down and finding THE ONE. Rob can’t seem to pull the trigger on a real commitment, though. He tells us as much when he admits to sleeping with another woman during his relationship with Laura. Rob’s issue doesn’t seem to be chronic infidelity though, just a simple case of maturity.
Intimacy vs. Isolation
One of Erik Erikson’s stages of development, Rob seems to be at a life point where he’s weighing the options: Stay single, or stay committed. As he works through his top five worst breakups, Rob analyzes his relationship with Laura. As it dawns on Rob that Laura is always the woman he comes back to, Laura too stays in touch with Rob and gently breaks down what went wrong when they were together.
As someone in their 30s, it actually is rewarding to watch Rob distill his past trysts and watch him grow into a mature, dateable man. He realizes that some of the women he put up on a pedestal were actually quite shallow; understands that his ego is no place for one-upping old girlfriends; and he even justifies that one girl he used to like married the guy that she was with after Rob, which means he couldn’t stand between her and the love of her life.
Even as Laura and Rob dance around each other, it’s bittersweet to watch them separate, then reconnect, reminding us that developmental stages are just part of finding out what matters most to all of us.