The rom-com genre tends to have a few plot structures it adheres to. Such is the case with Sam Boyd's In A Relationship. You have seen young millennials trying to figure out love in a big city many times. Even though the terrain here is familiar, Boyd's screenplay and careful direction bring a realistic and natural quality to the film.
Owen (Michael Angarano) and Hallie are in a relationship and are in that stage of practically living together while not actually living together. They are entwined in each other's lives via friends and parties but all it takes is the suggestion of moving in together to shake their foundation. When Owen's rent goes up past what he can afford, Hallie suggests she moves in. This causes Owen to back away from her wanting more and soon they decide to take a break. Then there is Matt (Patrick Gibson) and Willa (Free Hemingay) who have a fling one night that ignites a connection they can't really deny even though they are an unlikely match. Matt in this pairing wants more than Willa.
While Hallie and Owen are the focus of the film, Matt and Willa end up being far more interesting. This is largely due to Gibson's effortlessly charming portrayal of Matt. He is endearing in a way that makes you root for him. That quality is missing from Roberts who is the film's lead.
While In a Relationship isn't doing anything new with the rom-com format, it does feel honest and lived through. Boyd is clearly pulling from personal experiences here and he has a knack for natural sounding dialogue. He is also adept at balancing drama with comedy. The film has a few very funny moments. These qualities make In a Relationship just a step above the usual.