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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.
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.
"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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
With having heard about Greta Gerwig for the first time a few years
ago,in connection to being the "queen" of the Mumblecore genre,I was
pleasantly surprised to recently receive 2 Gerwig Mumblecore titles
from a friend,which led to me getting ready to see the "Mumblecore
queen" in action for the first time.
As her 30th birthday appears on the horizon,29 year old Lola begins to feel that her dream life is about to become a reality,when Lola's first (and only) boyfriend Luke proposes to her.Getting prepared for her big day,Lola is stopped from making her dream a reality,due to Luke telling Lola that he needs some "space" between him and herself just 3 weeks before the wedding.
Surrounding her self with loyal friends Henry and Alice,Lola begins attempting to move the painful feeling which Luke has left behind,by preparing to experience life as a single for the first time ever.
View on the film:
For the screenplay of the film,co-writer's Daryl Wein (who also directs) and Zoe Lister Jones (who also gives a strong performance as Lola's walking on eggshells friend Alice) takes a refreshing approach in avoiding the traditional boy-meets-girl route,by making Lola's "dream ending" one that crumbles apart within the first 10 minutes of the film,which leads to Jones and Wein instead showing Lola trying to build a good,but realistic single life for herself.
Making sure that Lola's transition from being engaged to newly single is one that never becomes too downbeat,Wein and Jones fill the movie with whip-smart dialogue,which along with giving the film a real snappy pace also allows for the close knitted relationship between Lola and her friends to be fully shown.Along with the sharp dialogue,Wein and Jones also show that they are not afraid to make their lead character occasionally look a bit stupid,with some of the best scenes in the film showing Lola go on some less than successful dates for the first time.
Backed by Daryl Wein's smooth directing,which keeps Lola's feet firmly on the ground,whilst also showing a stylish eye for cut-aways that reveal the nightmare that Lola sees her future as being,the beautiful Greta Gerwig gives an excellent performance which carefully makes sure the films comedic moments always stay rooted to Lola's struggle of living a single life,and also shows Lola having some serious doubts on what direction her life should take.
Joining Gerwig,Bill Pullman gives a fun,mini performance as Lola's dad Lenny,which is partly helped by Gerwig and Pullman having a slight resemblance to each other,whilst Hamish Linklater gives a terrific performance as Lola's loyal friend Henry,with Linklater showing what can happen when the wires of friendship unexpectedly cross.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had high hopes for this movie but it disappointed me a little. I wasn't to surprised to see the large amount of low ratings because there have been much better movies produced that are quite similar to this one. Overall it was a good movie that felt a lot more real than most other movies I have seen lately and that what made it so interesting to watch. the movie felt like it was about a real person going through life and not a scripted movie like it actually is. Some of the lines were unnecessary like "I was an incubator baby" but apart from those bits of dialog the movie felt well paced and well scripted. The movie took awhile to to really interest me but I was glad that I stayed watching it the whole time because in the end It was sort of worth while.
LOLA VERSUS (dir. Daryl Wein) The film sets out to expand the parameters of Romantic Comedy by taking a typical gambit (almost a cliché) and gently bruising it a bit. Lola's dreamy life in NYC comes to an abrupt halt when she's dumped by her fiancé. Not in a relationship, and creeping up on thirty...Oh, the horror! Now things get complicated, and she might fall for her best male friend, or even get some emotional help from her hippie parents. The jokes are barbed, and Lola makes some ill suited choices not usually covered in the genre, yet she's got oodles more pluck than the standard sugarcoated heroine. Greta Gerwig is enchanting in the lead role, and her delightful comedic mannerisms and facial expressions are perfect for this wry comedy. This film is a splendid choice if you're looking for something more than the run-of-the-mill lighthearted (empty-headed?) Rom Com.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
LOLA VERSUS (2012) **1/2 Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman, Debra Winger, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Maria Drizzia. Gerwig continues her cottage industry as the mumble core poster-girl makes a head-and-shoulders attempt in her first leading role as the titular heroine, a young psychology grad student in NYC whose fiancée suddenly flakes out and dumps her just before the impending nuptials, causing her to reflect, react and retract - not necessarily in that order - in response as she attempts to find herself without losing her mind. The arch screenplay by co-star Lister Jones (a hoot for the most part as Gerwig's New Age-y BFF with novice filmmaker Daryl Wein has its hands full in trying to set the right tone somewhere between Woody Allen, Nora Ephron and Edward Burns with uneven results in a hit-and-miss too-cool-for-school dialogue and 'awkward' for awkward sakes situations yet the picturesque cinematography by Jakob Ihre makes Manhattan even more romantic than it has been in years (!) Gerwig shines but has a lot of heavy lifting to do.
I really don't understand the low rating and low metascore for this movie. It's not a deep movie but it certainly is a feel good-coming of age movie that has nothing to envy from these type of movies with a much higher rating here on IMDb! Even so, i think it's more genuine than others, with a much more realistic dialogue and well thought out characters that feel like real people you can empathize with. Greta Gerwig is spot on for this part! A must see movie :)
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