A romantic comedy with the same kind of freshness and bite as 500 Days of Summer and without the hackneyed conventions of most relationship movies, Lola Versus features interesting actors (not necessarily stars now but with the potential to be one day) and dry, delightful dialogue that’s a pleasure to hear performed. While the film may lack some style in its direction and too many characters speak in the same quip-filled way, Lola Versus is still one of the more unusual comedies to come along this year.
Lola Versus (Blu-ray)
Directed by Daryl Wein
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p AVC codec
Running Time: 87 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; DTS 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish
MSRP: $ 29.99
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Review Date: September 11, 2012
After dating for eight years, Luke (Joel Kinnaman) pops the question to Lola (Greta Gerwig) who begins to gear up for a fabulous wedding. Unfortunately, three weeks before the blessed event, Luke gets cold feet and ends the engagement throwing the 29-year old Lola into a tailspin. A doctorial candidate in literature whose future had looked nothing but rosy, Lola now must try to rebound from a terrible emotional blow, and in the year that follows she makes a lot of bad choices with the men she tries to date, blown-off friends like Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) who want to help, and eventually a creative and emotional inertia that is almost physically crippling.
Ironically, the dissertation Lola is working on concerns the importance of silence and a fear of talking in both real life and as found in literature, but you’d never know from the acres of tantalizing talk that abounds in the Zoe Lister-Jones/ Daryl Wein screenplay even if too many different people seem to be speaking with the same hip voice in speech after speech. And the script (based somewhat on real-life events of the writers who are a couple) doesn’t go to familiar places at any time. Lola falls into bed with her best male friend, her ex, and a few strangers including the roller blading prison architect Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) whose few scenes are highlights of the movie. Daryl Wein’s direction doesn’t have a lot of style, but he certainly begins with a corker of an image: Lola alone on a beach when the tide brings in a sea of garbage, a fantastic symbol of the messiness that she’s about to experience in her personal life. Though Lola’s shock at her engagement ending seems extreme with her inability to function professionally and the zombie-like trance she affects for some of the movie (most film comedies trade in extremes), it’s still funny as her bumbling stabs at reentering the dating world and coping with friends are pretty identifiable even twisted for comic effect as they are here.
Greta Gerwig is a fresh face on the romantic comedy scene, and she retains audience sympathy even through her bad decision making and sometimes irritating self-involvement. Joel Kinnaman’s role is a bit underwritten as we’re never quite sure why his reaction to the impending nuptials is so strong or why after reflection he isn’t more downhearted about losing someone as special as Lola. Zoe Lister-Jones has written for herself that old reliable romantic comedy formula role: the sardonic best friend, but she’s added a few surprises along the way to spice up her otherwise routine supporting character. It’s great to see Debra Winger in a nice part as Lola’s upbeat mother, and Bill Pullman’s along for the ride as the supportive father of the title character. Hamish Linklater has some great scenes as Lola’s platonic best friend whom she relies on probably more than she should to get her through her crisis while Ebon Moss-Bachrach steals every one of his scenes as fish-loving, kind-hearted Nick, the prison architect with some special attributes.
The film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in a faithful 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. For most of the film, sharpness is exemplary with a naturalness to the image that boasts exquisite color control and accurate flesh tones. Black levels are very good. An occasional scene loses some of the razor sharpness that the rest of the transfer boasts, but clarity is never far away. The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is unremarkable. Most of the audio has been directed to the front channels, even the Fall on Your Sword music score which only sporadically echoes into the rear channels. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been placed in the center channel, but for a New York City-set film, there is little of the city’s ambience captured in the aural presentation featured here.
The audio commentary is by director/co-writer Daryl Wein and co-star/co-writer Zoe Lister-Jones. As their second film together, the couple really doesn’t talk all that much making for one of the more listless commentaries enlivened only occasionally by a comment or anecdote about an actor or an event from their lives woven into the fabric of the film.
Unless otherwise noted, the bonus material is presented in 1080p.
There are ten deleted scenes and an alternate ending which can be watched individually or in one 12 ½-minute collection.
There are three sections of outtakes: the gag reel runs 2 ¾ minutes, the Nick-the-Dick outtakes run 4 ¾ minutes, and Cheyenne Jackson’s ad-lib outtake reel runs 1 ¼ minutes.
Actress Greta Gerwig is celebrated by producers Michael London and Jocelyn Hayes Simpson, director Daryl Wein, and co-stars Zoe Lister-Jones, Joel Kinnaman, and Hamish Linklater. The lady herself is also interviewed briefly in this 3 ¾-minute vignette.
“The Filmmakers” introduces us to director Daryl Wein and co-writer Zoe Lister-Jones, a couple in real life, who wrote the script for the movie. This EPK featurette summarizes the film’s plot during its 3 ½-minute running time.
“The Fox Movie Channel Presents World Premiere” features the world premiere of the movie at the Tribeca Film Festival with interviews conducted by Tava Smiley in this 1080i, 5-minute featurette.
“The Fox Movie Channel: In Character” spends 5 minutes with actress Greta Gerwig who talks about her character and about the tremendous responsibility of carrying the leading role in the film for the first time. It’s in 1080i.
The film’s theatrical trailer runs 1 ¾ minutes.
The disc features a promo trailer for Ruby Sparks.
4/5 (not an average)
A fresh and fun romantic comedy that begins at the point that most romantic comedies end: the proposal, Lola Versus offers some droll dialogue and an appealing new actress in the leading role, a performer we should hear more from over the next few years. Recommended!