Film Review: "LOLA VERSUS"
Published: Friday, June 15, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 15, 2012 12:06
Lola battles against many problems in the ridiculously titled “LOLA VERSUS”, what’s unfortunate is that none of them are interesting. Playing like a tongue-in-cheek parody of uninspired and unambitious independent films, “VERSUS” attempts to float by on the charms of its title character, played by Greta Gerwig. But even she is handcuffed by the “woe is me, sure I have friends and a job and a family and an education but life is just so terrible because I’m not having great sex right now” attitudes so common in these ‘relationship’ dramas. Pretty much any other actress would be insufferable in this role, but Gerwig’s sunny charisma is able to fight off our scorn.
It’s an uphill battle, however, considering the makeup of her character. We open the film as her fiancé calls off their wedding, and considering her behavior over the ensuing 87 minutes, it’s hard for me to blame him. She begins to coax the separated couples mutual friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) into her bedroom, but as soon as she has him emotionally involved she jumps into bed with a socially awkward rollerblader (with a penis so huge it requires a medical explanation – someone got paid to write that) who comes off more like a stalker than a stud.
It’s about the same time that you realize the film is only worth watching for Gerwig that you also realize you’re just watching 3 episodes of a mediocre sitcom. It’s got all the hallmarks: its set-up (the break-up) is far more definitive than the conclusion (which, of course, is as tacked-on as it is predictable), it’s episodic in narrative but without any thematic connection between the strands, and it even has the sexually obnoxious loudmouth best friend character (played by a writer from the TV show “Whitney”, the character has a match.com profile with the username ‘letmebeyourhole’. Again – someone got paid to write that.)
The film takes no chances visually or thematically, and thanks to the aimless structure - which throws us scenes of Lola with Henry, with other men, with her best friend, her parents, and whoever else she can drag in off the street – it feels interminably long even running under 90 minutes. And while the idea of a film about the sexual misadventures of a well-to-do, quippy, adorable single woman was admirable for its scarcity in the past, the archetype is starting to feel worn out in a world with “Girls”, “New Girl”, “2 Broke Girls”, et al. Greta’s girl can’t help but get lost in the shuffle.