★ ½

Based on the popular young-adult novel of the same name, Every Day explores the unconventional relationship between an ordinary high-school girl and a lost soul who takes the form of a different person “every day.” The premise isn’t as confusing as it sounds, but nor is it as deep as director Michael Sucsy (The Vow) thinks it is. Every Day is a story about the value of inner beauty, an admirable message that is often lost in society today. Unfortunately, the presentation seems to make the film more convoluted than anything else, as it trudges along to a surprisingly heartfelt ending.

Rhiannon (Angourie Rice) is your typical 16-year-old high-school student, one who’s desperately trying to find true love. Her boyfriend Justin (Justice Smith) is more concerned with video games and drinking with his buddies than spending quality time with her. In her heart, Rhiannon knows that Justin isn’t the one for her, but she tries to make it work because he is her “type.” After a perfect day at the beach with Justin, Rhiannon feels reinvigorated by their relationship and continues to try and make it work. Little did she know, Justin was possessed that day by a travelling soul we only know as “A.” As we come to learn, “A” is nothing more than an entity who wakes up in a new body every morning. This soul takes a liking to Rhiannon and comes up with a plan to explain his (or her) predicament. After a few days of convincing, “A” is able to meet with Rhiannon and explain to her the unique situation it is stuck in. Eventually, Rhiannon starts to develop feelings for “A” and embraces this new relationship. Meeting with a new shell of a person every day, Rhiannon and “A” fall in love. Obviously, this leads to complications, as “A” doesn’t know which person he or she will be the next morning. Being in a metaphysical relationship puts a strain on the young couple, and their fantasy romance confronts multiple challenges along the way.

Every Day is greatly hampered by its awkward pacing, due to a lazily adapted screenplay by Jesse Andrews and a head-scratching vision from director Michael Sucsy. There are certain scenes in the film that seem to be included for no good reason other than to conjure up some artificial emotion from the audience, and several of the movie’s themes feel grossly out of place. Sucsy’s decision to use close-up shots during the majority of the conversational scenes is a curious one, as it seems like a missed opportunity to capture true intimacy. Chemistry may have been an issue here, as Rice shares the screen with a new boy or girl almost every five minutes. Even with a lack of direction, she turns in a stellar performance and continues to build on an already impressive resume. The film demanded that Rice carry it, and she succeeds in doing so.

This ambitious teenage love story disappoints all the way until the end, and then is stabilized with a truly emotional revelation by the young couple. The message here is clear: True love can only be obtained through emotional compatibility and inner beauty. For Every Day, a commendable message and solid acting by Rice aren’t enough to save it. Sadly, the audience must sit through 95 minutes of clutter to feel any sort of emotional payoff, and it just isn’t worth it.