“Everyone’s just trying to squeeze out a little happiness from life. Or just get some boring shit done. And the last thing they want is someone getting in their way. When someone asks me to do them a favor, it feels like they’re literally sucking the air out of my lungs. Like they’re trying to steal my life.” So goes the neighbor’s breakdown of why no one wants to take care of recently injured Frannie (Leslie Bibb) when she implores him to turn down his music and make her a sandwich.
After getting hit by a car and breaking both her arm and leg, Frannie is convinced that she’ll find it easy to stay in her own New York apartment so long as her friends help her out just as they’ve all promised to. Unfortunately, it’s her sister, Fallon (Nadia Dajani), an overbearing Montclair, New Jersey denizen, who seems to be the one most available to her–even if that availability is hardly on an emotionally supporting level. To make matters worse for Frannie, an article about her ex, Devon (Thomas Sadoski), and a multi-million dollar deal he just signed for an app he created makes her feel even more rage toward her situation. Soon, it is revealed that Frannie spent two years taking care of Devon while he had colon cancer, only for him to leave her abruptly once cured for another woman named Jodi (Betty Gilpin).
The PTSD of this event emboldens her enough–especially in the wake of getting lectured by her neighbor, Kyle (Michael Stahl-David), about being a burden to everyone–to reach out to Devon with a proposal: he should take care of her as recompense for all the time she spent doing the same for him. Devon, who comes to her apartment to hear her out, reacts in a somewhat miffed way, mixed with semi surprised outrage. When he essentially rebuffs Frannie’s idea, and then tells her he’s going to be late to his anniversary dinner with Jodi, Frannie balks at his lack of compassion.
But at the dinner, it’s evident that Devon can’t simply forget about what Frannie has asked him to do. When Jodi demands to know if she was right in predicting that Frannie just wanted money, he lies and says that, yes, she was correct. But the next day, Frannie informs Fallon that she won’t be needing her anymore because Devon has agreed to take care of her. Mildly offended that Frannie has basically intimated that Fallon’s “services” have been inadequate, she fails to see that the underlying motive for Frannie to replace her with Devon is for retribution.
The satisfaction she gets from making Devon perform menial tasks for her like bringing her Sprite in a sippy cup with a straw instead of just in a can is more than she ever though it could be. For at long last, she is getting what she deserved in return for her tireless days and nights spent at Devon’s side in the hospital. Of course, Devon must soon tell Jodi about the arrangement so as not to get caught in a lie, setting off her rage and jealousy issues enough to make her want to meet Frannie. This initiates an extremely awkward hangout session at her apartment as the three of them watch TV together, revealing the intimate nature of Devon and Frannie’s relationship to Jodi, who leaves soon after arriving. Later though, Jodi applauds the way he takes care of Frannie, remarking that it’s good to know that when they’re married he would do the same for her.
But the more time Devon spends with Frannie, the more dangerous it becomes, dredging up all the old sentiments from his time spent with her in a hospital bed. Inevitably, the feelings between them resurface, making for a unique and interesting approach to the conventional rom-com by highlighting the notion that when someone is vulnerable in quite a physical manner, it opens up their emotional susceptibility as well. Written and directed by Liz Tuccillo (best known for her Sex and the City teleplay, “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice” and co-authoring He’s Just Not That Into You), the fresh approach to how two people can come together in the most unexpected of ways makes Take Care a standout in the genre.