"Lola Versus": Stoner Comedy Dares to Be Smart

Smart but spacey, naturally luminous and yet legitimately awkward, Greta Gerwig is perfectly cast in director Daryl Wein's romantic tailspin comedy as a manic mess whose coping mechanisms include juice cleansing one week, double-fisting 40s the next, and impulsively rebounding with a best male friend (Hamish Linklater) before showing up at her ex's loft to beg for weed. Directed by Wein from a screenplay by Wein and Zoe Lister Jones (who also co-stars as a diva pal), the film lurches as unevenly as its heroine, stringing occasional sharp jokes and sincere observations together with clothes-changing montages, real estate porn, and ill-advised expositional dialogue. But it gets looser, weirder, and better. About halfway through, a hilariously cringeworthy sex scene (set to Ani DiFranco, no less) brings Wein's gambit into focus: More than subverting or satirizing the modern lady-in-crisis movie, he has made a big, broad stoner comedy, shot and performed naturalistically, from a woman's point of view. Narratively, it's not a huge shock where the film ultimately goes, but there are a number of fun surprises along the way.

 
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