I just don’t care.
That was my dominant emotion while watching Lola versus. As this young 29-year old battles an aborted romance, the tightrope of clubbing, parental micro-managing, and the demands and restraints of friendship, I never once was on her side. I wasn’t against her, mind you. I just didn’t care.
Lola’s story begins with a dream sequence. (Usually not a good sign!) She is doing yoga on the beach when wave after wave of trash washes up. Her conclusion-on her 29th birthday–is that she must learn to make her way through all the shit that life throws at her.
And then she is awakened by her boyfriend bringing her a cake and blowing a birthday horn in her ear.
Very quickly, the boy proposes, wedding plans get over-complicate, a “quirky” female friend and a “platonic” male friend celebrate, and the fiancé calls over the engagement. I guess this is the crap that life is throwing at her.
The rest of the film deals with her coping…and moping.
In fact, the only times when there seems to be any energy in the film is when Lola’s parents are in screen. They are played by veterans Bill Pullman and Debra Winger, and I often wondered what they where doing in this movie, or why they signed on in the first place.
Lola herself is played by Greta Gerwig and Luke, the man who dumped her, by Joel Kinnaman. Kinnaman will be vaguely familiar as the lead detective in the U.S. television series The Killing, while Gerwig is a bright, intelligent actress who still has not found a decent movie for her to star in. (Perhaps, Woody Allen will be able to tap in best to her talents in To Rome with Love, in which she stars.)
The film was co-written by Zoe Lister Jones, who also plays the quirky girl-friend Alice who acts as a foil to Lola’s moodiness. Lister seems infatuated with the script she wrote and seems to find her lines clever and hilarious when in fact they are less than sophomoric and sadly trite.
Even New York seems tired. There is no depth–of New York excitement or of urban alienation–to any of the location sites and the interiors are often a confused jumble of …interiors. One is never quite sure if one is in Lola’s, Alice’s, Henry’s or Luke’s place.
Lola is working on her PH.D. dissertation which concerns silence in 19th-century French literature. (And of course there are the shots of an anguished Lola in front of a laptop, unable to move forward because of the devastation in her love life.) When the subject of her dissertation is introduced there are some clever moments of silence–in a restaurant, in a college meeting, on the street. But, one finishes the film wishing there was more…silence that is.