Rating: (3 out of 5) Friday, 10/16/2009, 7:00 PM Feature presentation, $10 at Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Center for the Arts
IF YOU’RE LEFT wondering what just happened at the end of the first third of And Then Came Lola, don’t worry. You’re not alone — and anyway, she’ll be back to repeat the whole adventure. When that leaves you still scratching your head, she’ll do it again. She may be confusing, but give Lola props for her determination to get it right.
Apparently Lola is a bit of a flake, or just cosmically cursed, or perhaps some combination of the two. When tasked with jumping to the aid of her girlfriend, who seems to be in the ”Lola’s a screw-up and we can’t count on her” camp, our heroine embarks on a series of misadventures in the process of running a key errand.
While some of the twists and turns are amusing, there’s plenty that falls flat and a key element that just doesn’t make sense. The film occasionally and somewhat randomly breaks into animation, though cartoon Lola does nothing to advance the plot or fill in gaps — it seems more like a device to distract viewers from the confusion over what exactly is going on. It’s also a convenient way of executing improbable stunts as Lola wends through the streets of San Francisco, desperately trying to get from Point A to Point B so that she can deliver Crucial Item C to her girlfriend Casey, who’s seconds away from being seduced by a lecherous, vampy prospective client.
Lola’s travails are, apparently, modeled after 1998’s Run Lola Run, where the title character also has a short amount of time to execute an important task. Maybe not having seen the original renders this remake-of-sorts a little less compelling. But And Then Came Lola is not without merits. Its saving grace is that the characters are entertaining and the talented acting keeps the unfolding and re-unfolding adventures engaging. Along the way we get glimpses of the main characters’ therapy discussions about their relationship struggles, hopes and dreams, grounding the film when the head-scratching grows too intense. Perhaps most redeeming is the creation of an escapist element, the notion of being able to repeat our most important missions until we’ve gotten them just right and we, like Lola, can transform from deliverer of disappointments to saver of days.
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