Lola Versus is a low budget rom-com starring Greta Gerwig. Gerwig seems to be making quite a fine living off this type of picture, offering an Oscar worthy performance in Greenberg and anchoring the incredibly divisive Damsels in Distress. However, this picture seems to be missing something that made those movies a success. Lola (Gerwig) is unceremoniously dumped by her fiancée Luke (Kinnaman) three weeks before their wedding. After moping around for a while, she begins to do a little soul searching to help her move on.
First up on the chopping block are writers Zoe Lister Jones and Daryl Wein (also director). The script to Lola Versus is not only incredibly lifeless and unoriginal, it also screams TV, these characters don’t deserve their own movie, they aren’t developed or charming enough to do so. The dialogue also feels like a bad imitation of an HBO show, the character Alice (Zoe Lister Jones) seems like she was a rejected character from Sex and the City, spouting off “outrageous” one liners that aren’t witty, shocking or funny. A woman saying the word “dick” just won’t cut it in the modern age. Then there is the character of Lola who right from the beginning of the film seems like a sap, we have no reason to rally for her to find herself because we can’t stand to be around her. This script misses all the quirks and charm that make lo-fi rom-coms so successful, instead, this feels rather mainstream in its screenwriting, playing into stereotypes, stale jokes and a predictable ending.
Gerwig does her best with the weak character she’s been given and her performance is definitely the highlight of the film, but alas the other actors around her drag her down. Hamish Linklater and Joel Kinnaman as the men in Lola’s life seem to have absolutely no enthusiasm in their performances. It’s clear to see why Kinnaman has been cast as Robocop, he’s about as charismatic as a toaster. As already mentioned, Jones as Alice is dire and drags down every scene she’s in (though is briefly saved by sharing some screentime with the charming Cheynne Jackson). Sadly, even the likes of Bill Pullman and Debra Winger are far too past their prime to bring any gusto to their roles as Lola’s parents.
A sad mess of a movie really, filled with too many stale jokes for it’s downbeat plot and a cast that couldn’t save this movie even if they tried (which it seems they don’t). Director Wein composes some nice images throughout the film (a shot of Lola crying in a bathroom jumps to mind as being particularly striking) but he can’t seem to keep up momentum through the films short 87-minute runtime. Gerwig needs to be far more fringe than this to impress her audience.
A selection of outtakes which offer up more entertainment than the actual film but still are a waste of time.