There was a time when Whit Stillman appeared poised to take over for Woody Allen as the chronicler of upper crust East Coast urbanity and its attendant idiocy, before disappearing for a decade. With Allen firmly ensconced in Europe, now would be the perfect time for Stillman to return with a trailer for his new film, "Damsels in Distress."
The film stars Great Gerwig as the leader of a clique at a small liberal arts college who recruits new transfer, Analeigh Tipton. The young women run a suicide prevention center whose primary forms of treatment are doughnuts and tap dancing. Adam Brody co-stars as her well-dressed suitor. Check it...
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Like a lot of folks, we have a breathless, unapologetic crush on Gerwig, whose natural screen presence is so enchanting it made "Arthur" bearable. But her delivery here is so crushingly deadpan, and the script is so dry, it's feels hopelessly arrhythmic.
And we were particularly thrilled about the casting of Brody, who deserves a far better career than the one he's had. Over the course of three films with Stillman, Chris Eigman gave brilliant, sardonic voice to Stillman's rye observations and beleaguered frustrations, and Brody is (was?) the perfect talent to carry on that tradition. Unfortunately, Brody's character is thinly drawn, with not much screen time.
The whole thing feels woefully inorganic and forced.
"Damsels in Distress" opens Arpil 6.