Riding the crest of a vagina-humor wave that has made sitcoms so yeasty of late comes Lola Versus, a crass comedy about a ditzy ditched fiancée, her foul-mouthed female friend and some doofus guys.
If TV sitcoms don’t meet your needs when it comes to seeing 20-something women who are as crude, dumb and pathetic as their mindless male counterparts, this talky timewaster should fill the gap.
Greta Gerwig, who was so appealingly eccentric in last month’s indie-odd Damsels in Distress, takes a big step backward here as the unlucky-at-love Lola. A just-turned-29 grad student and part-time waitress, Lola is such an immature dork the character seems to have been written for Zooey Deschanel.
Lola’s wedding dreams are shattered when perfect-until-he’s-not fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnamen) gets cold feet. So much for nine months of preparations involving everything from the perfect gown to gluten-free chocolate cake.
Zoe Lister-Jones co-wrote the movie’s screenplay with director Daryl Wein and plays Lola’s self-deprecatingly cynical best friend Alice. She seems to be channeling Bebe Neuwirth’s acidic Lilith from TV’s Frasier, only hornier. Alice is so desperate for a man that her match.com name is “letmebeyourhole1” — because “letmebeyourhole” was taken.
Unfortunately, Alice’s idea of witty repartee is announcing “I gotta go wash my vagina.” When Lola asks why, Alice replies, “What, you never washed your vagina?” Later, Alice tells Lola that the way to take control of her life is to “find your spirit animal and ride it ’til its dick falls off.”
That pretty much sums up the level of wit here. Lola begins and ends her 29th year with dated references to the return-of-Saturn astrological phenomenon that provided the title of a No Doubt CD a dozen years ago. An unlikely reference to characters from the original Beverly Hills 90210 TV series is equally dated.
Although Lola says she has “never been with anyone else” besides Luke, she makes up for lost time by bedding their unthreateningly asexual mutual friend Henry (Hamish Linklater), which leads to awkward complications. Lola also gives it up to a creepy fish-store acquaintance named Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Nick’s bizarre explanation that his apparatus is “freakishly big” because he was an incubator baby may be the funniest thing in the movie.
Lola eventually is reduced to announcing that “I’m slutty, but I am a good person,” which is what passes for female empowerment in movies like this. By the time she gives Alice a present that turns out to be douche, and wraps things up with a “Greatest Love of All” spiel about learning to love herself, you’ll feel like 29 years have passed since Lola Versus started.
[Rating: 1 star]