"A Walk on the Moon" might be little more than a glorified soap opera, but it's certainly a well-acted one.
The film has almost everything you could want in a drama an appealing cast, a fashionable setting (the late '60s) and a soundtrack of period songs.
But where it goes wrong is in its choice of a major story line.
There are actually two primary plot threads here, and unfortunately, the one that receives prominence is the less interesting and more predictable of the two.
Still, "A Walk on the Moon" does have its moments, and the performances are good enough to compensate for some of the more obvious shortcomings.
Diane Lane stars as Pearl Kantrowitz, a young housewife who's become bored with her humdrum life. And that only gets worse during the summer of '69, as she spends her time in close quarters with her two children and at a summer bungalow the family rents in the Catskills.
Pearl longs to be free of family and the accompanying worries. And since her hardworking (if dull) husband, Marty (Liev Schreiber), spends most of his time at work or in New York City, Pearl increasingly finds herself drawn to another man. He's "the blouse man," Walker Jerome (Viggo Mortensen), a traveling salesman who lives a bohemian lifestyle.
Despite the risks, Pearl is soon spending time with him on a daily basis, indulging in extramarital sexual relations and drug experimentation.
At the same time, her teenage daughter, Alison (Anna Paquin), starts some experimentation of her own. And when she sneaks off to Woodstock, Alison accidentally discovers her mother with the blouse man.
It's pretty clear where the story is going from there, but director Tony Goldwyn and scripter Pamela Gray wisely attempt to depict the disastrous consequences of Pearl's actions even if the filmed results aren't entirely successful.
Fortunately, Lane, Schreiber and Paquin are all quite convincing. In fact, in spite of the somewhat cliched and inconsistent characters as written, the actors are likable enough to make you care what happens to them.
Surprisingly, even the usually oily Mortensen is tolerable, if his charms are a bit dubious. And screen veteran Tovah Feldshuh nearly steals the whole thing as Pearl's suspicious, fortune-telling mother-in-law.
"A Walk on the Moon" is rated R for scattered profanities, female and male nudity, simulated sex, simulated drug use (marijuana), a violent scuffle and use of some vulgar slang.