Lola Versus is a film that tries to be funny, quirky, and meaningful, but it ends up failing in all three areas. Situations such as these can be funny and quirky, but not when the film attempts to force it on the audience. As for having meaning, due to a major lack of originality, there’s not really much you can take away from a film like this. What we end up with is just another film about a woman trying to find the right path for herself while making multiple bad decisions along the way.
The woman is Lola (Greta Gerwig), who has been recently proposed to by her boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman). They spend months planning out a wedding until one day, Luke suddenly gets nervous and calls it off, which, as you can probably expect, devastates Lola. This starts her on her journey of self-discovery, which just happens to lead her to a mutual friend of Luke’s, Henry (Hamish Linklater). Their relationship slowly develops until things actually seem to be picking up. However, with all the confusion in her life, things remain quite difficult for Lola as she tries to sort out her various relationships.
Here we have a film that starts off making the audience think it’s going to be some kind of cute, charming romantic comedy before trying to shock them with the news of the suddenly called-off marriage. If it weren’t something that could be seen coming from a mile away, or perhaps if it weren’t the umpteenth time it’s happened on film, maybe we would be surprised, but sadly, it’s not.
From there, it’s merely a waiting game for the audience as we patiently wait for the characters to become something more than clichéd rehashes of ones we’ve seen time and time again. You have the lost and confused Lola trying to find her way in life, her best friend/advice-giver, Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones), always by her side, and finally, you have Henry, the friend you think she’s attracted to, but you’re not really sure.
These characters are partially what make the film a very tough slog to get through. The rest of the blame has to go toward the script, by Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, that merely has these flat characters flopping around on screen, not saying or doing anything significant, until the film finally comes to a close.
The only other feature in these writers’ filmographies is a film called Breaking Upwards (another film about a breakup) from 2009, which was not particularly well-received either. Perhaps these two need to venture out and try something new away from their usual area as it doesn’t appear to be working very well for them.
If there’s one good thing to be found in Lola Versus, it’s Greta Gerwig’s performance. She’s charming and tries to carry the weight of this misguided film, but unfortunately, there are too many things holding it back for her to be able to save it. Gerwig has been trying to get her name out there, but sadly has mostly ended up with parts in some pretty bad films like Greenberg and No Strings Attached. However, she did recently get the chance to work with Woody Allen in To Rome with Love, which, despite the film receiving bad reviews, must’ve been an amazing experience. Hopefully one day she’ll get a great role in a great film.
It really is a shame that this didn’t work out better. You would think, of all people, that the writers would recognize the heavily-clichéd material and flat characters in their script from the start and revised accordingly. However, since this is only their second feature, it could just be that they are too inexperienced to realize when their own material isn’t working. Perhaps, for them, the third time will be the charm.
Turning now to the Blu-Ray itself, the film is presented in a 1.85: 1 widescreen transfer that’s crisp and clean. The colors come through brightly with no dullness to be found, unlike the film itself. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio is likewise as clear as HD should be with dialogue being easily audible throughout. Not much to complain about in these departments.
The special features included on the disc are as follows:
- Deleted Scenes/Alternate Ending
- Fox Movie Channel presents In Character with Greta Gerwig
- Fox Movie Channel presents World Premiere
- The Filmmakers
- Greta Gerwig: Leading Lady
- Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Daryl Wein and Actress/Co-Writer Zoe Lister-Jones
- Theatrical Trailer
This may seem like a lot of special features, but unfortunately, there isn’t much to see here. There’s about 12 minutes of deleted scenes which only serve one purpose: to remind you that it could have been worse. The film could have been 12 minutes longer. There are a number of outtakes, some featuring actors that just have bit parts in the film, none of which are funny.
There are also a few featurettes that feature quick interviews with the writers and a few cast members. These don’t really supply any interesting insights into the film, but they do provide a bit of a laugh as some of them refer to the film as fresh and original. Finally, there’s an audio commentary, which, after listening to a small sample of it, shows that the writers don’t have much to say, so it, like all of the other special features, aren’t really worth your time.
That really sums it up as a whole. It’s not worth your time sitting through this movie or these extras. In short, you can avoid this Blu-Ray altogether as there’s a good chance that you’ve probably already seen a movie just like it. Lola Versus ends up being an 80-minute film that feels more like three hours as you sift through Lola’s multiple problems, but, oddly enough, you could say that the movie has more problems than she does, which says quite a lot.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.