Usually when I use the term 'train wreck,' it's a bad thing. But in this case, not always. We open with Carter being dumped by his actress/model girlfriend Sofia. He gets home 90 minutes later -- all due to L.A. traffic -- and his mom tells him about grandma being convinced she's dying. Carter has the brainstorm to go stay with grandma in Michigan, both to help her and maybe get a jump on the movie script he's been toying with writing since he was 15; he's 26 now.
Once in Michigan, we meet a cranky grandma, an outwardly nice but inwardly emotionally lost neighbor mom Sarah, married to cheating husband Nelson and mom to teen Lucy and Paige (maybe 7 or so). They've all got their issues, but that's where the parallels end.
Each one finds something in Carter, mirroring a comment his mom made about women being drawn to him. The attraction is a personality thing; he seems to have the charisma to be whomever the girl or woman wants him to be, to see in him what they want to see, and he manages to project that right vibe back at them. (Of course, it's a movie, so if you can write it, they can do it.)
Sarah seems to want to be needed, and the affair leaves that desire unfulfilled. Grandma needs someone to listen to her, even if she's just going to be cranky. Lucy seems to be torn between needing a friend, some fatherly-like advice, and at times just a nudge to do what she already suspects she wants. And Paige wants to marry Carter; he agrees, of course (as though either are really serious)...
And it works -- though not in the way the previews make you believe. The preview of Carter and Lucy kissing makes you think they're dating, but Carter (Adam Brody) is far older hee (26) than how old his character is in the "OC"... which may be why we heard a gasp from the teen girls in the audience when he also locked lips briefly with Sarah as well.
I would be hard-pressed to call ITLOW a 'comedy,' per se. Billed as such, and Carter delivers some rather witty lines, but I think it was more a humorous delivery to a dramatic sort of film. They speak of human failings and of coping with those failings, with overtones that life is something to experience and enjoy while you have it, because sooner or later it ends... whether "it" is relationships, life, or being confused about what you want, everything has its time.