Monday, June 18, 2012

Lola Versus

For a film that's only 86 minutes long, Lola Versus sure felt a lot longer. From the production company of 500 Days of Summer, a movie that was clearly written by someone that survived a brutal break up, Lola seems to be written by a person in real-time break-up mode. You know the scene in The Wedding Singer when Adam Sandler sings to Drew Barrymore a song that was half written while he was in a relationship and half written after the break-up? Lola is the movie version of that song.

It's unfortunate because the film definitely had potential. Lola, played by Greta Gerwig, turns 29 and gets engaged to her long-term boyfriend. Weeks before the wedding he ends it. Lola relies on her best friends (Henry and Alice) and her funky parents. Bill Pullman is an adorable father, by the way. Up till this point the pacing felt fine and everything was on track. 

The movie fluctuates between being predictable, real, frustrating, and unrealistic. Lola battles friend hookups, re-establishing ties with an ex, friends hooking up, old hook ups hooking up. It takes on too much and doesn't get to the meat of any of them.

I think the biggest problem was with the timeframe, or lackthereof. This is what I think the timeframe was: She gets engaged on her 29th birthday, they're engaged for 9 months, then everything falls apart and is resolved by her 30th. WHAT?! If we're honestly dealing with a three month window then that's insane. Hopefully, I'm wrong. But if I am wrong, the movie should have done a better job to let me know what the real time was.

One of the good elements of the film was the gorgeous backdrop of the city and Greta's always perfect hair
This movie hit very close to home for me. I was definitely thinking of the unsuccessful relationships I've had, the successful relationship I'm in, and the complexities that arise from the interplay of friend groups (love you, babe!). But coming to a solution about whether you should be friends with an ex or fixing what happens after hook-ups go awry aren't solved within weeks of each other. And certainly not with everyone able to be in one room together as besties again.

The climatic, finding-herself montage was eerily similar to the Bridesmaids meltdown suffered by Kristen Wiig. However, Wiig's spiral felt more realistic and sincere. Lola's comes after a very bizarre scene leading to only more bizarre scenes. While at a housewarming party hosted by her two ex-lovers, her "friends" confront her about her selfish ways. They then get mad at her for reacting poorly to the news that her best friends had been secretly dating for two weeks. Ugh. I think the girl's allowed to be self-loathing and sad for longer than a couple months when her relationship of 8 years just fell apart. But equally retarded for trying to be friends with him so quickly.

None of the characters seem to grow or learn anything, contrary to what the final scene tries to suggest. And I'm not talking about a needing happy ending with everything neatly resolved. The ending of 500 didn't come with the two stars getting back together and living happily ever after. But it did come with a feeling that life moves on and you need to trust yourself to get through the hard times. Movies need to be relatable but transportable. It needs to make you see yourself in the future.

There's just too much missing from Lola Versus to make it worthwhile, which is sad because I wanted it to be so much more. It tackled a lot of issues, ranging from girl-friend friendships, guy-friend friendships, ex's, moving on, finding yourself, and mending fences. Touch on less and expand on it more with those 86 minutes, and baby, you got yourself a stew going.

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