By Dirk Sonniksen | June 21, 2012
Director: Daryl Wein
Writer(s): Daryl Wein (screenplay), Zoe Lister Jones (screenplay)
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman
The majority of Lola Versus plays out like so many other romantic comedies, with Lola (Greta Gerwig) and her boyfriend Luke (Joel Kinnaman) planning a wedding. Yes, it’s time to tie the knot, but what happens? Anyone? Luke gets cold feet and the wedding is off. You can imagine Lola’s disappointment what with the dress and the catering and the marriage, blah, blah, blah. Lola’s friend Alice (Zoe Lister Jones) is there to help her with the big letdown, and generally to give Lola her best funny advice on the merits of a rebound.
Luke’s friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) has the hots for Lola, and eventually…anyone? Yes, they totally hook up. This puts Luke and Henry’s friendship in jeopardy, but not much, because this is an artsy kind of love story, and everyone knows artsy people don’t really hold grudges. Things move on with a bit more hooking up, some comedic relief, some bellyaching, and overall feelings of inadequacy.
This bellyaching and feelings of inadequacy plague Lola throughout the majority Lola Versus, and were it not for Greta Gerwig being endearing and quite lovable, this would have been a tough movie to finish. There is lots of whining from Lola, mainly regarding her feelings for Luke, but it’s such impassioned whining, and it’s (did I mention?) Greta Gerwig, and she somehow gets the audience through this tired love story.
It would be unjust to give Greta all the credit for the film, as the entire cast did splendid work. Joel Kinnaman (the new RoboCop) plays a convincing, clueless, confused boyfriend, while Hamish Linklater plays Henry, a guy that seems a bit clueless and confused himself, but perhaps with a bit more common sense. Zoe Lister Jones as Alice is probably the biggest comedic talent of the bunch, adding much-needed humor to the script. While Jones is quite funny as Lola’s closest shoulder to cry on, Lola’s hippie dad Lenny (Bill Pullman) misses the mark completely as a hackneyed character that we need not see in any more films.
Lola Versus is at times both clever and funny, great attributes that help to prop up the film, and has an admirable cast to help with the propping. Unfortunately these attributes are obscured by another cliché romantic comedy that lumbers along predictably. We won’t blame Greta Gerwig for this one, but it would be nice to see her move beyond this genre and perhaps take on something a bit more challenging.