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Damsels in Distress


Stars: Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Ryan Metcalf, Jermaine Crawford, Zach Woods, Caitlin Fitzgerald

Director: Whit Stillman

A weird, pretentious movie about weird, pretentious people, set at an Ivy League college where four (very) pseudo-intellectual girls, led by the ethereal Violet (Gerwig), try to influence himbos, one of whom doesn't even know the names of colours.

It's hard to credit that even college students can be this dim, but director Stillman does give it, well, the old college try, in a film that even turns into a musical at the end, although the routines are as fey (and unfunny) as the rest of proceedings.

The girls' leader (Gerwig, at 33 hardly looking like a collegiate) has soft, soothing (some might say intensely irritating) tones, but she's a bimbo at heart, devastated by the loss of her boyfriend, who's even more idiotic than she is: 'He left me with a beanball,' she wails. 'It's just an extra, in case he lost the other one.' Get the picture?

There's a twenties feel to the vapid romp; shot in pastel colours, it's clearly meant to be a smart comedy, but raises only a few smiles and has ideas as sappy as its characters. 'Aren't such people terrible pains in the neck?' asks new recruit to foursome Lily (Tipton). Sister, you said it.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Colour (uncredited).
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 21 Apr 2012