In the latest adaptation of the late Andre Dubus' bleakly honest domestic stories (another being 2002's ''In the Bedroom''), two chummy married couples (Mark Ruffalo and Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts) -- people who hate themselves, their spouses, their friends, or some combination thereof -- dabble in interspousal affairs and thrash about furiously in midlife angst. Sounds romantic, huh? When ''Anymore'' premiered at Sundance (where it won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award), a shook-up audience member stood during the Q&A session and said, ''If someone from Mars came down and saw this film, they'd think that sex and love were mutually exclusive ideas.'' Jokes Ruffalo, who compares the excruciatingly emotional film to ''Faces'' and ''Carnal Knowledge,'' ''So the MPAA won't be showing this to the Martians when they come.''
Ruffalo's and Krause's characters are bitterly competitive pals, and both sport identical three-day beard growth: You might credit the facial-hair choice to a directorial subtext about the men's duality...but it really comes down to scruff envy. ''[Both actors] wanted to have beards,'' says John Curran (''Praise''), an American director making his first film in his home country after living in Australia for 15 years. ''I could never grow a beard, and I wish for once in my life I could have a real shadow. So it was appealing, Yeah...beards! It's primal and manly -- I can't really defend it any other way.''
THE GOOD NEWS Nuanced actors in a provocative adult drama? Could be the perfect oasis for grown-ups looking to think during the summer.
THE BAD NEWS Dramas like this can slip from the relatability of dysfunctional couples into the irritability of annoying jerks.