Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Left Field Lola

Lola Versus       WWW Score: 82%

You have to give Lola Versus credit - flying in the face of 99.9% of romantic comedies - the girl doesn't make off with the obvious choice of boys at the finish line. Then again, this is an indie rom-com, starring the current queen of indie-ness, Greta Gerwig.

This I can unequivocally say, it's the least annoying work I've experienced in Gerwig's ('Greenberg') suddenly surging career - in fact, she's actually quite charming in her trademarked off-center way.

Gerwig plays the title role, a just-turned 29-year-old New Yorker madly in love with her non-starving artist of a boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman, a poor man's Channing Tatum).

After getting a rock from her man, Lola and her goofy parents (a where-have-you-been-hiding Debra Winger and puffy-faced Bill Pullman) get down to planning the thing down to the most mundane detail.

Luke gets cold feet and dumps his damsel, sending Lola into a tailspin of drunken debauchery; jumping into the beds of well-hung yoga instructors and her ex's best bud, a Larry of Three's Company lookalike, Henry (Hamish Linklater).

The obligatory "Are we a couple or simply friends with benefits?" complication follows as Lola pushes Henry right into the arms of her BFF Alice (a Kathy Griffin/Elaine of Seinfeld-ish Zoe Lister-Jones). Alice's character managing to tip the scales from super annoying to surprisingly humorous in the process.

The film provides plenty of trite material (e.g. attempts to make the use of Neil Sedaka's name jocular) but 'Lola' is more enjoyable than it ought to be. Gerwig turns up the wattage on her customary comatose line delivery and sells the struggle of a closing-in-on-her-expiration-date female trying to find her way in the hipster world she inhabits.

With its unexpected level of likeabilty, Lola Versus is a huge step in the right direction for Gerwig's growing stardom. She's fast becoming a left field Meg Ryan - minus the trout pout.