New cinema release 13 Going On 30 and the upcoming Collateral see actor Mark Ruffalo taking a decent dabble in the mainstream. But he's at his best in low-key indies, essaying characters that you're not urged to like but nonetheless can't stop watching.
Just look at Austin Chick's debut, XX/XY. Ruffalo plays Coles, a wannabe auteur who remains an emotional infant while his former college bedmates age gracefully during a 10-year period. In less capable hands you'd be looking at a misogynistic loser, but Ruffalo supplies depth and charm to steal your affections from the other leads - even long-term lover Petra Wright.
Our leading man's charisma also outpaces Chick's screenplay, the young writer/director unable to whip his perceptive thoughts on relationships into more forceful, focused shape. Still, his picture's got just enough to it to ensure that you won't be tempted to recreate its standout scene, where a disgruntled cinemagoer gets Ruffalo to cough up for directing dross.