Luckily, director Don Roos (Bounce, The Opposite of Sex) provides some clues to unraveling all this nonsense most obviously with a series of text cards that appear onscreen sporadically throughout the movie. Sometimes they overreach (telling us not to worry about certain characters), sometimes they're simplistic (explaining away Mamie's emotional pallor with a sentence about a gambling ex-husband). But they also provide an interesting meta-narrative, as the disembodied director seems to speak directly to you.
Slightly less obvious is the parallel between the stories of Mamie and Jude (played by Lisa Kudrow and Maggie Gyllenhaal, respectively). Or maybe not the parallel & r & maybe the perpendicular. Mamie's been a soulless stone since she tried to abort the pregnancy she got into with her stepbrother, Steve (played as an adult by the always remarkable Steve Coogan). Jude's the opposite -- a wild hare, a conniver
but she's heading in Mamie's direction. It's their intersection near the film's end that provides the not-entirely-happy ending suggested by the movie's title.
But if you still can't entirely grasp what's going on (and we wouldn't fault you), there are the special features, in which director Don Roos actually does speak directly to you (with Kudrow and the director of photography) and they piece together the making of the film in a short but watchable featurette.