Film Review : Lola Versus
● By Justin Buettner
Lola's boyfriend proposes and during the wedding planning decides to break the engagement off for no specific reason. Lola, who is in the middle of her PHD dissertation, begins trying to date and find herself. Bad decisions lead her to threaten the relationships with her friends as she teeters on the brink of making life altering terrible missteps. Will Lola vs. herself win?
Lola Versus is a movie riddled with character and plot problems. The movie lacks focus, purpose or a point. When the film ends it is abundantly unclear exactly what or how Lola has changed or why a change was ever really needed. The character deficiencies in the film can be blamed on all parties as the story, direction, and acting had a hand in missing the mark.
Daryl Wein wrote and directed this clunky movie and I would dare say that he’d have a hard time selling why we should care enough about Lola to spend an entire two hours watching this self absorbed character smile her way through a series of uneventful plot points. The pacing of the movie combined with the limited acting ability of Greta Gerwig do nothing but sink with the lousy script. In a movie that is supposedly about a girl self reflecting about her life, the movie includes almost no moment of self reflection, but instead seems more interested in with whom the lead will sleep with next. Perhaps in a comedy that would be acceptable, but if Lola Versus is intending to be a comedy it is missing the mark by a greater amount than I am estimating as nothing in the film is remotely funny. Wein seems to lean heavily on the hope Greta Gerwig is charming enough to make up for the lack of depth the movie has, and he’s sadly mistaken.
While I will admit Greta Gerwig does have some charm about her, and I have seen her shine in several supporting roles in other films, in Lola Versus she does not have the range to properly express the emotions that the lead character is going through. Even while laying on the floor in what is supposed to be a depressed state, Gerwig wears a half smile that undercuts the emotion she is supposed to be selling. The direction and writing combines with the weak acting to leave almost no moments of true emotional depth. If that is not enough a fairly bad and shockingly strange supporting cast adds to this listless movie. Lola’s best friend Alice makes one odd, inappropriate, comment after another which clearly is intended to be comic relief comes across as creepy and uncomfortable. The casting of the numerous boyfriends Lola “hooks up” with are miscast both in terms of looks and acting ability. Lastly the movie cast an old and out of shape Bill Pullman and Debra Winger as the hippie parents that are doing a bad impersonation the hippie parents from Meet the Fockers.
As the movie progresses Lola makes curious decisions that really have no rhyme or reason and because the movie has no depth the effects of these decisions are not explored either before or after. It leads to a rather predictable bad ending. The movie’s premise is fairly similar to last summer’s Celeste and Jesse Forever which had similar character and story flaws, but had infinitely better talent and at least knew how to pull off a bit of comedy. While Lola Versus seeks to target the female audience that will mistake this movie as a romantic comedy or a story of female empowerment, which couldn’t be further from the truth. To be honest the movie tells a story of a self absorbed girl who in the end learns to love herself? Hmmm, is that really a life lesson? Lola Versus fails on nearly every level, it is not worth your time to see.
Films like Lola Versus : Celeste and Jesse Forever, No Strings Attached, and What’s Your Number
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.