R (strong language, sexuality, drug use); 86 min.
Greta Gerwig is fighting for love, struggling for happiness, striving for harmony in Lola Versus. What she's really up against, though, are the contrivances piled on by the filmmakers of this aggravating indie romance.
Lola Versus deals with relationships in standard-issue Sundance style, ostensibly smarter and more genuine than what flows from the Hollywood rom-com pipeline yet really just as shallow at heart.
Writer-director Daryl Wein and co-writer and co-star Zoe Lister-Jones, a real-life couple, manage some clever episodes in their year in the life of a New York woman newly dumped. Although Gerwig is an earnest, often adorable mess as Lola, the people around her are just urban types: the supportive, sharp-tongued friend (Lister-Jones); the hunky fiance (Joel Kinnaman) who needs distance; the sensitive male best pal (Hamish Linklater) who is clearly in love with Lola.
Wein and Lister-Jones weave this bunch into a romantic mush of self-absorption, a round robin in which everyone sleeps around with one another then whines over the complications that arise.
Gerwig takes on Lola Versus with spirit and intensity. She's a great actress in the making, full of quirks that bring far more depth and authenticity to Lola than the things the filmmakers have her say and do.
To her credit, Gerwig really goes for it, her Lola a seething nutcase who tries to draw everyone into her crumpled, myopic world of self-pity. That friends continue to indulge her -- or even speak to her -- after some of her shenanigans stretches credibility.
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-- David Germain, The Associated Press