redbeanbun goes to the movies: damsels in distress

I bet you just watched that trailer and were sort of like, "Yeah, okay, so this is going to be a wacky romantic comedy, right?"


I saw this movie last night, in the company of a lovely lady friend, and we both spent the entire time laughing confusedly, and when we got up at the end of the movie, we looked at each other, each willing the other to explain what just happened. We both burst out laughing.

See, because, this movie, it was funny, and intriguing, and clever, and strange, but I don't really know that it had a plot. I mean it did. I think. Maybe?

It opens on New Student Orientation (there are a lot of title cards helpfully telling you what the hell is happening in this movie), where the trio (Violet [Greta Gerwig], Heather [Carrie MacLemore], and Rose [Megalyn Echikunwoke] - and no I'm not kidding about the floral names) befriend Lily [Analeigh Tipton and her giant seductress lips] and introduce her to life at Seven Oaks University, most specifically the Suicide Prevention Center they volunteer for, handing out doughnuts (BUT ONLY TO THE SUICIDAL OR EXTREMELY DEPRESSED) and the fraternities, which, for no particular reason, are Roman-letter instead of Greek at Seven Oaks. (This makes the moronic frat DU, which is kind of awesome.)

But then, the story, if there is one, just sort of happens, stumbling all over the screen like a drunk DU guy. Students throw themselves off the Ed building, attempting to end their lives, without realizing that jumping off a 14-foot balcony will, at most, maybe break your legs, and most likely just mess up your joints really badly. Rose then quips that she doesn't know how these people can be expected to teach young children when they can't even figure out how to destroy themselves.

Violet is obsessed with starting a dance craze. Heather dates a guy named Thor who never learned to differentiate between colors. ("Is that blue? Well, then, what would you call that couch? Green? Huh! So that's green." - a bit which, shockingly, does not get old.) Lily starts dating someone who claims his religion means they can only have non-procreative sex by... well, I'm not going to ruin that one.

Honestly, this thing just veers all over the place. There are song and dance numbers, there are brief, angry, nonsensical appearances by Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat and a bigger, but no more logical, part for Zach Woods. It's like a parade of the new young faces of mumblecore comedy.

I think I liked it, though. I honestly can't really be sure, because it seriously just confused the hell out of me, but I couldn't stop laughing, sometimes in a mildly shocked and confused way, and there was one guy in the theater who had a really excellent bellowing laugh, but he found the strangest things hysterical. Sometimes I would laugh only because he had started laughing.

All in all, I'd say this was worth the price of admission, and in New York, that's really saying something. My lady friend seemed to have a similar reaction, as she certainly couldn't settle on what she thought of it, but was pretty sure she liked it. In the light of day, the whole thing seems incredible. I don't know that it even happened.

Have you ever seen Synechdoche, New York? It's that but with college-aged girls. Sort of. In the sense that I walked out of that theater, and just looked around me for a second, and then said, loudly, to no one, "What the f*ck?"