The world of academia is given a light skewering in the charming "Maggie's Plan," a screwball-ish romantic comedy from writer-director Rebecca Miller (daughter of playwright Arthur Miller). Revolving around a love triangle between self-involved, intellectual Brooklynites, the film calls to mind the works of Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach.
Maggie (Greta Gerwig) wants to be a mother. Tired of waiting around for things to happen on their own, she opts for insemination, choosing Guy (Travis Fimmel) -- an artisanal small-batch pickle magnate -- as a donor. Naturally, the second she goes through with her plan, she ends up falling for John (Ethan Hawke), "one of the bad boys of ficto-critical anthropology." John also happens to be married to the imposingly brilliant Georgette (Julianne Moore, sporting a thick Danish accent). Offering notes on John's perpetually unfinished novel, Maggie grows smitten, and the feeling is more than mutual.
The story jumps ahead three years to find the couple now married with a young daughter. Their love has dimmed over the interceding years, and Maggie's starting to wonder if there might not be a way to return John to where she found him, no harm done.
An appealing mix of sweet and sour, "Maggie's Plan" gets better as it goes on after Miller has finished with the heavy lifting of introducing these characters -- including Maggie's best friends, played by the always welcome Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph -- and their world. Once they start bouncing off one another, we're reminded that as booksmart as some may be, we're all a bit stupid in the ways of love.