Lola Versus 

Scheduled to open Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial, Lola Versus represents the first pure star vehicle for Gerwig, at least outside of the no-budget “mumblecore” world from which she began. Anyone who’s seen those pretentious, improv dramas — and I certainly don’t recommend you do — knows of their sexual explicitness, which makes Lola’s fronting her as America’s Newest Sweetheart laughable.

And even if you haven’t — thank your lucky stars — Lola Versus still may feel like a losing battle against your valuable time.

The 29-year-old woman of the title, Lola gets engaged to her boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman, TV’s The Killing), and then dumped, all in the movie’s opening moments.

The remainder of the romantic comedy is consumed by a full year of Lola whining about herself and her mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world to her hipster friends in New York City. (For variety, sometimes she complains about it while drunk.) None of these people, Lola included, appears to hold a job; if they do, they’re working with holes in their T-shirts and their hair uncombed.

Lola Versus arrives with many problems, but the largest is the seed: the script, co-written by sophomore director Daryl Wein and actress Zoe Lister Jones (TV’s Whitney). It simply tries too hard with what little it has to offer, much of it artificial, off-putting situations of Lola’s own design.

Usually endearing onscreen, Jones has given herself the showy role as extroverted best bud Alice. She comes complete with flippant, only-in-the-movies dialogue that’s supposed to make us laugh with its too-cool-for-school ’tude, yet doesn’t really convey anything: “Your brain is a bad DJ.”

Late in the film, Alice gifts her friend with a “birthday rap” that left me visibly cringing, feeling embarrassed for all parties involved. Had this scene taken place within the first act, I may have committed the critic’s unforgivable sin: leaving.

Thus far, I’ve only been able to warm to Gerwig in small doses, whether as a minor supporting player (The House of the Devil) or as part of an ensemble (Whit Stillman’s recent delight, Damsels in Distress). She doesn’t enchant as a leading lady; then again, Lola Versus affords her no such opportunity.

Hey! Read This:
Damsels in Distress film review  
The House of the Devil DVD review  
The Killing: The Complete First Season Blu-ray review     

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Rod Lott

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