Film & DVD
'Lola Versus' wastes Greta Gerwig in flat, New York indie rom-com
Published: June 21, 2012
★★ (out of 5 stars)
If Lola Versus, co-star Zoë Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein's semi-mainstream crossover attempt after the success of the real-life couple's 2009 indie Breaking Upwards, had been a little smarter, a bit more lively or shown any interest in comedic finesse rather than picking what low-hanging fruit it could get its heavily exfoliated hands on, then it might've been unfair to point out how much the film resembles Lena Dunham's zeitgeist-gobbling (and utterly fantastic) HBO show Girls, which also premiered in the summer. Feature films take an eternity to reach theaters, so nobody's claiming "rip-off" or accusing Lola Versus of riding the Fempire wave while passing itself off as a legitimate generational companion piece. Still, can Wein and Lister-Jones have gotten any unluckier? Watching the effervescent Greta Gerwig sob, dance, "power eat" and face-plant her way through a New York quarter-life meltdown following her fiance's cold-feet wedding cancellation, one can't help but wonder how this crew, who came up through the post-Millennial mumblecore ranks still clutching shreds of legitimacy, could have cobbled together such a flat and, frankly, dated rom-com. This isn't Girls; it's If Lucy Fell.
Being dumped after trying on wedding dresses does quite a number on the lovely 29-year-old Lola (Gerwig), who leans on best friend Alice (Zoë Lister-Jones) and another good friend, sensitive Henry (Hamish Linklater) for guidance and quips and overcooked digressions about how fairy tales and the movies set unrealistic expectations and stop me if you've heard that a million times over.
For reasons not immediately evident in her personality (probably because the film never bothers to tell us who she is), Lola leaps headfirst into rebound sex, particularly with a pompous roller-blading foodie whose penis is weird because he was an incubator baby! (Ha?) Things get even messier – and by messier, I mean totally resolvable by otherwise rational human beings – when Lola sinks her claws into Henry, who seems to have a thing with Alice.
Despite some flat attempts at evoking yesterday's food-trucks-and-yoga hipster aesthetic, Lola Versus feels as bored with itself as its titular heroine. In a mass email, its makers mention Girls and blame soft box office on "older male critics." Maybe that's true: I'm male, though only a few years older than Lola, and I didn't like it. Maybe young women who don't subscribe to HBO will enjoy it more. Ladies, wherever you might be hiding, it's all yours.
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