Greta Gerwig, the new It Girl for hip 20-somethings who don't believe in It Girls, stars in "Lola Versus," an indie film set in a New York City populated entirely by hip 20-somethings. Living in an alternate mainstream defined by vintage jackets and unusual tattoos, Lola and her friends constantly mock and critique their lives, and no wonder -- all they do is sleep and drink together.
Where have we seen these characters before? Maybe, like, everywhere? Along with Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture" (and her HBO show, "Girls"), Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg" (also starring Gerwig) and Lynn Shelton's "Your Sister's Sister" (also released Friday), "Lola Versus" is creating an entire genre aimed at youngish adults who seem both pleased by and sick of themselves. There's a Fitzgeraldian sense of generational malaise in all of this, but "Lola Versus" is convinced that it's hilarious.
Gerwig, an appealing anti-star with an ungainly beauty, is perfectly cast as the floppy, sloppy Lola (Bill Pullman and Debra Winger play her eccentric parents), though you won't believe for a second that she's a Mallarmé scholar. Ditto for her artist boyfriend, Luke (Joel Kinnaman, cute and inarticulate), and her rock-singer friend Henry (Hamish Linklater, fey and enervated). Struggling actress Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones, who co-wrote with director Daryl Wein) completes the movie's love-square, but since they don't really want anything or do anything, who cares who's dating whom?
"Lola Versus" strikes a blow for equality by allowing Lola to sleep around as recklessly as any guy ("I'm slutty, but I am a good person!"). The movie's values, though, are ultimately shallow. Lola's interest in Nick (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) ends because he's a rollerblading weirdo who designs prisons. Or is it because he's sincere, self-accepting and works for a living? Dude, so uncool!
PLOT A New York City girl tries to rebound from a breakup. RATING R (language, sexuality)
PLAYING AT Area theaters
BOTTOM LINE A hip, hollow vehicle for indie starlet Gerwig that favors fashionable self-mockery over genuine emotion or character.