I Do...Until I Don’t starts with a brilliant suggestion: Marriage should be a seven-year contract, with an option to renew. This way, you don’t have to fret about getting divorced; you know an ending is just down the road. You don’t have to feel guilty for failing, because it was never meant to be permanent to begin with. As a grizzled divorcée eager to cast spells on everyone else’s marital bliss, I LOVE this concept! I also quite liked this film.
I Do finds documentary filmmaker Vivian (Dolly Wells)—the one with the excellent plan to GTFO after seven years—setting up shop in Florida to interview couples whose marriages may be teetering on the brink so she can exploit their pain and prove her point. These couples are semi-functional displays of average, including boring youngs (writer/director Lake Bell and Ed Helms), boring olds (Mary Steenburgen and Paul Reiser, NEITHER OF WHOM ARE IN ENOUGH THINGS), and doomed reckless youngs (Amber Heard and Wyatt Cenac).
A cynical viewer like myself can smugly nod along at their monotony, monogamy, and misery, knowing oh-so-well that love is dead. It’s satisfying in the same way it’s satisfying to watch couples who should never have gotten married on House Hunters. “Good luck!” we cackle. “They’ll never make it,” we whisper.
But then I Do... Until I Don’t cleverly reveals one of the biggest twists in the history of romantic comedies, straying from its central thesis of marriage being an evil and archaic institution and becoming something (spoiler!) kinda positive? Love-affirming, even? It sneaks up on you, and even the most hardened among us (raises hand, shakes fist at happy brides, slowly stops shaking fist, sniffles, wipes eyes, it’s just allergies) can root for this secretly delightful movie.