Lola Versus Directed by: Daryl Wein Cast: Greta Gerwig, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Joel Kinnaman Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: R Release Date: June 15, 2012 (Chicago)
PLOT: A woman (Gerwig) tries to pull herself together after her fiance (Kinnaman) dumps her right before their wedding.
WHO'S IT FOR? This movie doesn't really have an age demographic, or even a hipness demographic. It's more about the dating demographic - you're going through your own Lola Versus-like moments, this movie might be of some use to you. If you're all happy and in a relationship, then you'll just think this is simply Katherine Heigl-lite. Maybe if you pride yourself on being "That Girl" on the social media thing, maybe you'll love this movie.
Lola Versus dolls up the typical romantic arc that is mostly expressed in modern times through narcissistic Twitter feeds. Even Lola's dialogue, which thankfully comes from the unpretentious charisma of Gerwig, sounds like it was made for people to identify with, or god forbid, RT: "I'm taken by myself." Or, the kind of Tweet that a person throws together with spelling errors late into the night, "I'm slutty, but I'm a good person."
What makes this movie work (or saves it from being really boring) is Gerwig, whose humble awkwardness feels fresh in this type of story. Plus, unlike other stars who've been given their own romantic comedies, she's more expressive internally than externally. Gerwig doesn't need absurd moments to force extreme facial reactions, or hold our attention, nonetheless.
Co-writer and Gerwig sidekick Zoe Lister Jones, playing That Friend of Yours Who Feels Even More So Forever Alone, scripts some wacky humor for herself. The comedy is either odd (her on-stage performance) or just plainly unfunny (a tanning mishap). It's disappointing but indicative of this movie's freshness that even this movie tries to get a giggle out of an episode of egregious tanning, something that should have died long ago when attempted in Christmas with the Kranks or even Old Dogs. Here, it comes off like the filmmakers were trying to make a moment that would be attractive to trailer editors, and in part, an audience usually from the mainstream.
With such a regular demeanor, Lola Versus is best when it captures the intimacy of when friends hang out. It could be argued that the scene in which Hamish Linklater's and Gerwig's characters are simply sitting around, laughing, and swigging from a whiskey bottle, is the best in the film for its complete and quiet truth. This certainly would not have been as possible without the non-aggressive Linklater, who isn't trying to play anything special, but simply a friend of Lola who "gets [her] out of swamps."
The same can't be said for new Robocop guy Joel Kinnaman, who takes the cheesiness of his confused ex-fiance character far beyond any redeemable, or likable area. Instead, opposite Gerwig trying to play Lola with a sense of realness, Kinnaman is only the cardboard reflection of the role that he plays in Lola's fairytale.
The only thing that makes Lola's story special is that it a movie was made about it (Your relationship problem doesn't have a film, does it?) However complicated the emotions may be of such an event in our lives, it's something we have all experienced, man or woman, whether we live in New York City, North Reading, Massachusetts, or Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Lola Versus just tidies up the events of the arc, toys with low-budget comedy, and then gives it an optimistic ending so that this indie fairytale of a girl who learned to love herself first can feel like it'll be of friendly support to others.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10