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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I suppose you need to be in a New York state of mind to enjoy "Lola
Versus," but, Phillistine that I am, I just could not pull it off. I
also know exactly what many of the smug, self-styled intellectual
reviewers are going to write and say about this film. That it's smart,
quirky, snappy, gritty, real and funny.
Don't believe any of that.
Once again, I know I will be in the minority opinion, but to this scribbler, it's nothing but a series of unrelated sentences that seeks to substitute for a coherent script; a junk drawer full of supposedly wry and witty bon mots desperately in search of a plot, written by someone with Attention Deficit Disorder.
It seemingly wants to be as clever as "Juno," but does not want to work for it. Of course, it's handicapped because it has neither the intelligence, charm or talent featured in that film. In fact, it's not even a low-rent "500 Days Of Summer," the next picture on the "Will-I-ever-find-true-love-again" bandwagon.
"Lola Versus" is the follow-up to "Breaking Upwards" from writer/director team Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, where the filmmakers attempted to use conventional romcom figures of speech to jump-start conversations that ultimately went nowhere. This goes twice as much for Wein's latest release.
He isn't given much to work with, however. In "Lola," we get actors such as Greta Gerwig ("No Strings Attached"), Joel Kinnaman ("Safe House," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"), Hamish Linklater ("Battleship"), Lister-Jones ("The Other Guys," "Salt") and Ebon Moss-Bachrach ("The Lake House," Higher Ground").
Oh sure, we also see veteran Bill Pullman (whose last significant work was "Rio Sex Comedy") and Academy Award-nominated (for "An Officer and a Gentleman" and "Terms of Endearment") actress, Debra Winger; both are wasted, though, as a terminally high father and nagging mother, respectively.
Here, Gerwig plays the eponymous character, who lives in New York and has one of those New York lives that exist only in movies like this. She lives in a perfect, rent-controlled apartment and is engaged to uber stud, Luke (Kinnaman). It seems to be a match made in Heaven, until a chronic case of cold feet causes him to dump her three weeks before the wedding.
This can happen. I personally know of a situation similar, but no one is going to put THAT story up on the big screen. Lola takes it hard - very hard. She sleeps for what seems like months (only waking to eat a few potato chips and wallow in self-pity, much like the audience). Later, her friend, Alice (Jones), tries to console her by taking her to singles bars and getting her plastered at private parties.
Lola pays her back by sleeping with Alice's on-again, off-again boyfriend, Henry (Linklater), who plays in the world's lamest band. Their relationship begins with an innocent sleep-but-don't-touch thing, but soon devolves into a full-blown affair.
And, since Gerwig's character is a 29-year old New Yorker, she is shallow, annoying, promiscuous and completely self-absorbed. She's also a pothead and an alcoholic, to boot. Plus, not since Kristin Wiig's embarrassing "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" breakdown in "Bridesmaids," do we get a female that goes Hollywood mental at just the wrong time (just because she sees Nick talking to another girl).
All of this while trying to get her life back on track. However, she falls back into her old habits by cheating on her rebound guy with Nick Oyster (Moss-Bachrach), a well-endowed fish salesman (get it?). Lola has sex with him, then complains because he's bothers her, which is certainly the pot calling the kettle black here.
Finally, Nick, seeing the error of his ways comes back into her life, and, of course, Lola forgives him and - gasp - has sex with him (how novel, a male character she sleeps with). In fact, she has baseless, passionless, meaningless intercourse so many times, it frankly becomes as irritating as Gerwig's empty, one-note performance.
It's also very hard to feel sorry for someone who constantly blubbers because she cannot find love, yet has a perfect face and body, a full support group and seemingly beds every man in the Bronx. We all have our troubles and few tears are going to be wasted on her situation.
Lister-Jones, who is equally bothersome most of the time, although a bit less self-centered as Lola, is probably the best thing about this movie (and that is certainly not saying very much). It's sad though, that while she steals every scene she's in, it's all petty larceny in the end. None of the other characters even approach empathy, chemistry or believability.
All the while, the writing tandem attempts a viewer connection by name-dropping such entities as Facebook, match.com and Yelp!, but they spoil everything by practically waving their hands about frantically and shouting, "Hey! We're smarter than all of you! This movie is what life, love and finally growing up is really all about!"
As previously written, don't believe that for a minute.
A 4.6 rating average? Why? What was so bad about this movie? I read the
other reviews to see whether there was something I missed... Nope. Some
of the other reviewers don't even have the characters' names straight.
And I concluded that most of them didn't get the movie at all. I
sincerely hope they didn't get it because they've never been through
anything similar. So I decided to write a review of my own, and praise
this highly underrated movie.
Lola is at a high-point in her life. She lives in New York City, she is working on her PhD thesis, and she is about to marry her dreamy-looking boyfriend of years. If it seems too good to be true it probably is. When the above-mentioned boyfriend gets cold feet and dumps her, everything comes crumbling down. She cries, comfort-eats, sleeps on the floor and goes to school looking like a zombie. She employs her two best friends, Alice and Henry, to help her get out of this funk. Things get complicated in the process though, mostly due to her feeling confused and ambivalent... Enter the classic coming-of-age, finding yourself stuff, the "choosing to be alive" as Lola phrases it. Sprinkled with some hilarious spot-on bits of dialogue, usually from Alice (Zoe Lister Jones), the friend who's there mainly for the comic-relief, and does excellent in it I might add.
I have to agree here with some of the negative critique. Yes, it is difficult to feel sorry for Lola when she lives in a beautiful New York apartment, walks around in cute little skirts and high heels looking gorgeous, continues to look gorgeous despite all the comfort-eating, and sleeps with three different guys in the course of an 87 min movie. True that. However, the emotional turmoil, obsessive thinking, failing to accept reality, and all those feelings that follow a heartbreak were there, mindfully portrayed. Greta Gerwig was an ideal choice for the part, since she evokes this next-door-girl quality that makes it easy for the audience to sympathize and identify with her. I also found her little flaws of the "wholesome" diet and the cleansing potion thermos super funny!
At parts of the movie I could guess what the next line was going to be, and not because it was predictable; because it was genuine and it felt real.
I almost didn't watch this movie based on the low IMDb score, but I
found it to be a lovely film. Most of the comedy is generational - so
some people might not get it. The story seems true to the complications
of modern romantic entanglements and the two main actresses are great.
I found the movie much more enjoyable than most of the big budget films
that are out there.
I really would consider this more of a drama than a comedy, although it has some comical moments. It's not going to be well liked if you're looking for a romantic comedy. It has some great moments of revelation and is more about soul searching than your typical Hollywood fluff. This is a very nice movie with a nice blend of drama and comedy.
"I learned everything I know about being a woman from 90210." Lola
To watch Greta Gerwig play the eponymous Lola dealing with the cancellation of her wedding 3 weeks before the event by her cold-footed boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinneman), is to watch a young, already accomplished actress deftly play a doctoral student navigating the emotional potholes of breaking up.
Gerwig is worth the watching while the rest of the film meanders in and out of almost-unconnected episodes with some wit and some clichés. She is so convincingly lost among the ruins of her life that she is believable even when the setups are not. Indeed, it's Gerwig who propels the film, not the uneven scrip of director Daryl Wein and his collaborator, Zoe Lister-Jones.
The film is punctuated by make-up, casual, and silly sex as she finds her way out of depression. To help her is the usual rom-com girlfriend, Alice (Lister-Jones), whose wisecracking ("I gotta go wash my Vagina") helps add comic relief to Lola's melancholic life.
Amid Lola's experimentation with her ex's best friend, Henry (Hamish Linklater), and a pickup, Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), at a fish store are random thoughts about finding the right love or going back to the old love. It's a rather tedious conflict that could be rehashed from some soap and not reflective of HBO's gritty "Girls," if I hear right about the TV sitcom.
It's not that Lola Versus is unreal; on the contrary it is an authentic take on the vagaries of breaking up. However, with as few witty lines and imaginative encounters, it doesn't elevate the argument or provide insight into the anguish and remedies that usually accompany a study of this universal experience.
I would much rather have explored the interesting lives of Lola's loose parents (Lenny and Robin, played by Bill Pullman and Debra Winger) or the challenges of her dissertation on silence in novels. Maybe that's what Lola Versus needssilence.
Lola Versus opens in a fashion similar to many of your conventional
rom-com of the weeks, as Greta Gerwig's titular character is proposed
to by her handsome and charming boyfriend, played by The Killing's Joel
Kinnaman in a nice bit of broadening his appeal. Before the cut to the
title card though, it shows some promise in diversifying itself by
having this dream montage of wedding preparation bliss come shattering
down as Kinnaman's Luke informs her that he can't go through with it.
Strangely, this turns Lola Versus into a whole new kind of conventional
comedy -- the "indie" single girl in the city movie, as Lola suffers
through the typical post break-up blues and makes many a mistake on her
road towards ultimate self-realization.
I'm not sure when this new genre became so popular that it was loaded with its own clichés but it certainly is at this point, as there isn't a single moment in Lola Versus that doesn't feel recycled from a dozen other films of a similar vein. Her parents (Bill Pullman and Debra Winger, their poor careers) are supportive and make somewhat inappropriate remarks, her best friend (Zoe Lister Jones) is a super quirky and "outrageous" ultimate single girl who is desperate to find someone to sleep with her (seriously, this might be the worst character of the year) and her male best friend (Hamish Linklater) just happens to have long-running feelings for her. Gee, I wonder if that will lead to anything. Lola Versus runs from one half-baked sequence to the next, building towards its inevitable conclusion that maybe she shouldn't have spent the past year of her life trying as hard as possible to find someone (anyone) to love her and make her feel good.
Anyone with half a brain knows this already though, so the film doesn't give the audience any kind of reflective quality or anything in particular to enjoy while watching. The "comedy" is overbearing, mostly uncomfortable (not in the good way) and far too rehearsed and any kind of resonance that can be gained from this character is voided by the redundancy of it all. I think Greta Gerwig is a very capable actress and I'm getting incredibly frustrated by seeing her taking on roles in so many disappointing films that fall into the same kind of market-type that she finds herself here. She really should be doing much better work, and now my hope is put firmly into her upcoming Noah Baumbach feature.
Completely uninspired writing and direction from Daryl Wein leads to Lola Versus feeling as though someone saw it crumpled in the garbage, dusted it off and thought they'd try to trick people into wasting their time with it. It's a wonder that something like this was made when watching it seems like no one cared at all. With the 90-minute running time, you're much better off watching three episodes of Lena Dunham's Girls instead. This follows similar waves but can't remotely measure up in terms of comedy or poignancy.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) has a hard time finding her place in the world. So
does the film. What starts out as a romantic comedy-styled drama, turns
into a sex comedy, and then tries to find its way as a character study.
But the character of Lola will turn off some before the film gets going
and bore others who have already solved her life's problems.
It has taken me a long time to warm up to Gerwig but she's surprisingly cute and likable here despite how narcissistic, self-destructive, self-involved, and sullen Lola can be. The opening of the film sees Lola in love, Lola getting engaged, and then Lola getting dumped just three weeks before the wedding.
Cancelling a wedding to a man you were in love with after everything is paid for, would be torture to go through. But Lola didn't have to do that. Lola's mother (Debra Winger) cancelled the wedding for her while she cried in bed. Lola's mother and father (Bill Pullman) were likely the highlights of the film as I did laugh at the majority of their lines.
The writing isn't bad. As the film ventures into sex comedy territory, the writers were going for bold, catchy lines. I disagree with the point of being quotable just for the sake of being quotable, and there are way too many examples of that in this film, but some are funny and some will likely resonate with the target audience.
The target audience is not the 29-to-30 year-olds who are trying to find their place in this world. "Lola Versus" is meant for the mid-twenty-somethings who watch the HBO series "Girls" in between their meaningless, hate-filled sexual flings and their self-loathing obsessions about not having a career. For the majority of the film, that is what Lola and her friends are like. Lola describes herself as a "slutty but good person". Her best friend Alice is even worse who makes jokes about oxycodone giving her orgasms.
Her ex-fiancé, her best friend-turned-boyfriend and her potential suitor were decent characters played by decent actors. Joel Kinnaman as the ex-fiancé Luke wasn't given much to do, which is a good thing for the film, as otherwise we probably would have sided with him instead of Lola.
Lola came to some decent, if unimpressive, observations by the end of the film, that it probably would have served them better if "Lola Versus" was meant as a character study all along. But as is you have to suffer through a lot of moaning which most young heroines are too smart for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie stinks on ice. Don't even bother. Set in NYC, Lola (Greta Gerwig) discovers on her 29th birthday her life will turn upside down. When her fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) calls off their wedding three weeks before the ceremony, she is bereft. Her parents (the sole bright spot in the movie is Debra Winger and Bill Pullman as doped-out hippies) are sympathetic, as is her friend Alice (Zoe Lister Jones) well as her fiancé's best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater, who is much, much better in "Battleship"). The self-obsessed Lola might as well be a tornado. She leaves devastation in her wake with everyone she knows. When she winds up alone, she must reassess everything and try to start over as she turns 30. There is a rambling plot, goes nowhere and does nothing. Truly, don't bother with this movie. I am amazed it even got made. It's that bad.
This is directed by Daryl Wein, and written by him and his long time
writing partner Zoe Lister Jones.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) is 29 years-old and is happily engaged to Luke (Joel Kinnaman). But 3 weeks before their big day, Luke cancels. Lola is left with the wreckage of her relationship and must struggle to find happiness. Zoe Lister Jones stars as the best friend.
This is another 20-something sophisticated girl who can't get her act together. She's a smart girl who is acting stupid. Zoe has some funny lines. Greta is playing her stock character. I like the actors, but it's too bad that there isn't anything new.
I will never watch another Fox Searchlight film because whenever I do movies like this happen. Either Greta Gerwig is a talented bright young actress who just does schmaltzy fake indie movies or some diabolical executive's evil invention designed to single handedly kill non-mainstream cinema. I'm not sure. Lola Versus is a feeble boring predictable yawn-fest about a beautiful young woman who just can't seem to find love in America's and possibly the world's greatest city. I could go on but why? The one star is solely for Gerwig's infectious charm and magnetism even though I feel like she is slowly ruining my love for New York City.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lola Versus (2012) Greta Gerwig stars as the unlikely heroine in this indie Rom Com. I know that people know her from other comedies but this was my introduction to her. Lola is a quirky and naive 29 year old who thinks her life is right where it needs to be apartment in the city with fiancée, graduate school, great friends, supportive parents and even though she is also selfish, you grow to like her. When her fiancée dumps her out of the blue you feel for her. Her two sidekick best friends are the most predictable part of this unorthodox movie providing the love triangle aspect. The best thing about this movie is Lola's insight. What she learns and how she transforms. I saw it over a week ago and I still cant get it out of my head.
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