Better Living Through Chemistry (film)

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Better Living Through Chemistry
Better Living Through Chemistry poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • David Posamentier
  • Geoff Moore
Written by
  • David Posamentier
  • Geoff Moore
Produced by
CinematographyTim Suhrstedt
Edited byJonathan Alberts
Music by
  • Andrew Feltenstein
  • John Nau
Occupant Films
Distributed bySamuel Goldwyn Films (United States)
Release date
  • March 14, 2014 (2014-03-14) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
Box office$120,823[1]

Better Living Through Chemistry is a 2014 American comedy-drama film directed and written by David Posamentier and Geoff Moore.[2] The film stars Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Ben Schwartz, Ken Howard, Ray Liotta, and Jane Fonda. The film was released on March 14, 2014.


Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell), is unhappily married to Kara (Michelle Monaghan). They have a son Ethan who is acting weird. Kara isn't interested in anything but staying fit and cycling; she teaches spin classes and wins the town's cycle race every year. Straitlaced Doug is bullied by his retired father-in-law, whose small-town Pharmacy he took over.

Elizabeth (Olivia Wilde), is a bored trophy wife, prescription drug abuser and one of Doug's best clients. She seduces the unhappy Doug and they begin an affair during which they both use Doug's businesses to abuse drugs. Doug's life is transformed by "better living through chemistry". Elizabeth persuades Doug to murder her husband Jack (Ray Liotta) so that they can run away together by tampering with the dosages of his heart medication. The plan fails when the delivery boy steals the medication and overdoses. Doug realizes that he can't abandon his son who needs him and straightens up. Elizabeth leaves Jack and heads overseas.



On February 25, 2010, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Posamentier and Moore would collaborate on their directorial debut, with their own screenplay of Better Living Through Chemistry, for Occupant Films.[2] On January 7, 2014, Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired all the United States distribution rights to the film for a spring 2014 release.[9]


In April 2010, Paul Rudd was expected to join the cast as a lead actor to play Douglas Varney.[10] On September 15, 2010, Jennifer Garner and Jeremy Renner joined the cast to play the lead roles in the film, with Renner to play Douglas Varney and Garner to play Elizabeth Roberts.[11] On February 11, 2011, Judi Dench and Michelle Monaghan joined the cast of the film.[5][12]

Then, on July 15, 2011, Sam Rockwell continued negotiations with Occupant Films to replace Renner, who left the project due to a hectic filming schedule.[3][13] In August 2011, Garner was pregnant and expecting her third child with Ben Affleck, resulting in the actress' departure from the project.[citation needed] Olivia Wilde replaced Garner[14] and was cast opposite the confirmed Rockwell.[4] Ray Liotta also joined the cast on March 27, 2012 to play the husband of Elizabeth Roberts.[6] On May 16, 2012, Jane Fonda joined the cast of the film as Narrator, as well as a cameo as a customer of a pharmacy run by Douglas Varney.[7]


The filming of Better Living Through Chemistry began in May 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland.[15] The duration of filming was five weeks and it occurred in different locations, including Baltimore, Anne Arundel County and Eastern Shore of Maryland.[16] On May 10, 2012, the filming crew was shooting footage at Maryland State House.[17]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 22% based on reviews from 26 critics.[18] [19] [20]


  1. ^ "Better Living Through Chemistry". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ a b "Duo making directing debut on 'Chemistry'". February 25, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Sam Rockwell in talks for 'Chemistry' role". July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Wilde in talks to replace Garner in 'Chemistry'". August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Judi Dench & Michelle Monaghan Join 'Better Living Through Chemistry'". February 12, 2011. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Ray Liotta Finalizing Talks For 'Better Living Through Chemistry'". March 27, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d "Jane Fonda Joins 'Better Living Through Chemistry'". May 16, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Gallagher, Brian (November 21, 2013). "EXCLUSIVE: Ben Schwartz Talks Turbo". Movieweb. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
  9. ^ Cox, Gordon (January 7, 2014). "Samuel Goldwyn Films Snags 'Better Living Through Chemistry' with Sam Rockwell". Retrieved January 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "Paul Rudd Circling Two Different Murderous Dark Comedies". April 21, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Jennifer Garner may discover 'Chemistry' with Jeremy Renner". September 16, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "Actors fill 'Living' spaces: Renner, Dench, Garner, Monaghan join cast". February 11, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Ben Garman. "Sam Rockwell in Talks to Replace Jeremy Renner in BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY". Collider. Demand Film. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  14. ^ "Olivia Wilde replaces Jennifer Garner in comedy 'Better Living Through Chemistry'". August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Indie movie starring Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell to film in Md". May 3, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "Olivia Wilde is headed to Maryland for 'Better Living'". May 4, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  17. ^ "'Better Living Through Chemistry' film shot outside Md. State House". May 11, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  18. ^ "Better Living Through Chemistry". Rotten Tomatoes. 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  19. ^ Berkshire, Geoff (March 14, 2014). "Film Review: 'Better Living Through Chemistry'". Variety.
  20. ^ Holden, Stephen (March 13, 2014). "Where Performance Enhancers Are Legal". The New York Times.

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