Scott McGhee and David Siegel--the filmmaking duo behind "Bee Season"--follow two equally problematic parallel stories about a young New York couple. Pregnant Kate (Lynn Collins) and her loyal boyfriend Bobby (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) flirt with extracting a large ransom from an unknown gangster for an especially significant cell phone (think "Burn After Reading") while their more domestic dopplegangers visit Kate's family for a contemplative Fourth of July fiesta. Neither story is engaging enough to work on its own, and there isn't any resonance between them if there was. For all of the earnest effort that Collins and Gordon-Levitt exert on characters that they created much improvised dialogue for, you're always aware of the narrative artifice surrounding them. Two half-baked stories don't add up to a whole movie no matter how much dialogue the actors wrote.
Not Rated. 104 mins. (C-) (Two Stars)