Being on this planet more than a few years, I can say I have had my share of relationships as well as those times when I felt like I was starting over. In that time I was able to reflect, I always felt like a new person, well at least temporarily. But every relationship helped me to refine my personality and build my character to the person I am today. As it turns out today, I get to review Lola Versus which takes us on a journey of self realization after a crushing breakup. Let’s see how it does.
We open up to a beach where Lola (played by Greta Gerwig)is performing various yoga exercises and over analyzing her horoscope which says that something will soon turn her life upside down but in the end it will only make her stronger. Her ears start ringing to a sound of a persistent noise blower. The next thing she knows she is waking up next to her boyfriend, Luke (played by Joel Kinnaman). It’s her birthday and she is turning twenty-nine.
Lola sends her boyfriend off to work. The following night, Luke decides to propose to her. She says yes and it spins into a wedding craze. There is a wedding dress fitting to attend with her friends, Henry and Alice (played by Hamish Linklater and Zoe Lister Jones), then it is the ordering of the wedding cake, and soon it is all of the little details that make us men absolutely loathe the practice. Soon, it proves too much for Luke as one day he decides to drop Lola like a bad habit.
The next thing we know, Lola is sleeping on the floor despite attempts by Alice to try and help her out. Even her father, Lenny (played by Bill Pullman) and her mother, Robin (played by Debra Winger) also try to help in their own quirky ways. Lola eventually decides to move back into her old apartment and one of her first visitors turns out to be her mutual friend (with Luke) Henry who brings along a consolation lasagna.
Lola decides to go to some bars but that does not go so well when she has panic attacks instead. As she leaves, she decides to hang out with Henry instead. They talk about their best worst night ever and the next morning they wake up arm in arm with their clothes still on. Meanwhile, Lola has to deal with picking up her stuff and fending off an advance from a guy named Nick (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach) at a fish store. Lola tries to cope with life but she will need to find herself first.
The rest of the movie is dedicated to Lola and her little adventures in and out of love before she eventually finds herself. The most obvious issue however lies in the fact that Lola’s character is about as exciting and interesting as day old paint. It probably does not help that Greta Gerwig plays the character in a very condescending tone and rather than the audience feeling sorry for her, we actually tend to side with her friends more often than not.
The remaining characters while being slightly more agreeable with the audience are not exactly going to make us appreciate the movie very much more. Bill Pullman and Zoe Lister Jones are probably the only above average performances in the movie in my opinion. Everybody else seems to do their own versions of sleepwalking through the very meager eighty seven minutes of the film. Thankfully, this was a bit shorter than most films as I would have done my own sleepwalking without the walk bit.
The video is in 1.85:1 widescreen presentation at 1080p resolution. This is filmed in New York City, so as a result we do get to see a lot of on-location sites and less of inside set pieces. There are a lot of picturesque scenes and places where we can see a great deal of color. Detail is varied and while this might be NYC, if somebody told me Boston I would probably believe it. It probably does not help that the majority of the actors and actresses in the film emit this trendy hipster image which does nothing to accentuate the film’s video.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD track (we also get a French 5.1 DTS, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Descriptive Audio tracks). This movie is one hundred percent dialog driven and any sound effects that one would hope for are incredibly subdued. At the very least, the entire dialog is clear and easy to hear. The music is also pleasing but it is nothing I would listen to outside of the movie. It is a dull and depressingly average track. Subtitles are provided for English SDH, French and Spanish folks.
- Automatic Trailers: Blu-Ray and Ruby Sparks
- Deleted Scenes 12:30: Eleven including an alternate ending scenes are here. A lot of this is fluff but I think two or three of these would have helped to explain things like the breakup (which has the potential to temporarily confuse the viewer the way the movie does it). Bill Pullman’s party shirt is awesome by the way. The alternate ending is nothing special either but it does give us a shot of New York City over the water which is at least something.
- Outtakes 2:37: A bevy of amusing goofs and sadly not very long (nor anything with Pullman). For some reason the sound cuts out for the last fifteen seconds.
- Nick the Dick Outtakes 4:45: Nick, the resident creepy guy has a series of additional takes. I do like the fact that he makes Lola feel completely uncomfortable.
- Cheyenne Jackson Outtakes 1:17: Cheyenne plays Roger who plays an actor and part time interest of Alice. Waste o Time.
- Commentary with Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones : Daryl is the writer/director and Zoe also did a bunch of writing along with her acting turn as Alice. It is a pretty boring affair with a lot of dead spots. This movie is brought to you by Four Loco which according to my wife is about as awful as this movie. Thanks for the insight sweetie. Wein and Jones are pretty comfortable with each other (for reasons explained later) but it does not translate well for the sakes of the commentary. At one point, Daryl mentions if we are listening to this (commentary), we love you. I am pretty sure Daryl is not in love with my less than flattering review, but we will move on.
- Greta Gerwig: Leading Lady 3:45: The first of the behind the scenes type featurettes. Not that anybody is surprised, but Greta has not been a leading lady before. Yeah, I’m shocked. There are a lot of congratulatory moments here. They do a good job of explaining her character though.
- The Filmmakers 3:29: The crew and Zoe Lister Jones (who serves as writer and actress in the film) explain the movie. Naturally, this is mixed in with lots and lots of clips. Little tidbit of information, Daryl Wein and Zoe have been in a romantic relationship for the last seven years. This featurette is a bit short to be meaningful.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere 4:58 : Tava Smiley is our host at the Tribeca Film Festival and as expected, this is a very promotional type tidbit. Zoe Lister Jones admits to be addicted to oxycotton (just kidding, I did not really laugh either) and another big shock, Greta admits to being just like her character Lola.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Greta Gerwig 4:58: Apparently Greta Gerwig was sitting in her trailer at one point and wondering why they cast her in the starring role. Yeah, I thought about the same thing. It is a mix of clips and Greta going over her character. By the way, unless one watched this featurette, we would have totally missed that Lola had an actual job. Also, Greta, being a novelist is not a job that exists in lala land. That is all.
- Theatrical Trailer 1:48: The trailer to this flic, can we go to Final Thoughts now, please?
Would you believe that Orlando Bloom was originally slated to star in this film? Perhaps, you would also like to know that Joel Kinnaman (Luke) will be Robocop/Alex Murphy in the remake of the classic action film slated to hit theaters in summer of 2013. Those two facts alone are much more interesting than anything that this film has to offer. Trending hipsters, boring acting and a dull storyline make for a miserable eighty seven minutes. The truth is, if they made Lola’s character at least a little likable, I could have dealt with the rest of the shortcomings.
The disc for the fan of the movie is actually pretty darn good. The video and audio are reasonable and the extras are quite numerous (but unfortunately quite dull). If you have not figured it out by now, I am not recommending this movie to anybody. It tries way too hard to be a trendy and hippy type movie and even though it probably succeeds at that, it does not make me enjoy the movie at all unfortunately. But then, Lola is the kinda girl that most people should avoid. Really…should avoid.