A new comedy called MISTRESS AMERICA was written by its leading actress, Greta Gerwig, and its director, Noah Baumbach. There are lots of funny lines in the movie, but the main character, Brooke, just isn’t very likable. (The two previously collaborated on FRANCES HA which is a better film than this one.)
Talented comedienne Gerwig plays Brooke, an eccentric 30 year old living in New York City. Brooke is meeting 18 year old Tracy for the first time. Tracy (played by Lola Kirke) is a college freshman whose mother is about to marry Brooke’s dad. They connect in Times Square
Brooke: Welcome to the Great White Way!
Tracy: Times Square is so crazy.
Brooke: Isn’t it?
Tracy: I don’t know anyone who lives here.
Brooke: Yours truly. I got off the bus from Jersey. I thought this was the cool place to live. It’s Times Square!
Brooke tells Tracy that she freelances as an interior decorator.
Brooke: You know the Bowery Hotel?
Tracy: Oh, my God, yeah!
Brooke: Well, if you walk about a block south, there’s a laser hair removal center that’s very hip. I did the waiting room.
To say Brooke is immature would be an understatement. She’s also impetuous and narcissistic.
Brooke: You have to market yourself. If you don’t know what you’re selling, no one will know how to buy it.
Tracy: What are you selling?
Brooke: So many things. I’m starting a restaurant. The front part will be like a shop. We’ll also have cooking classes and maybe cut hair.
You get the idea. Brooke’s life is mostly a fantasy. She is full of energy and plans but has no money nor any real friends.
Still, Tracy is captivated and wants to help her.
So Tracy and her friends drive Brooke to Connecticut to try to get Brooke’s former fiancé to help finance her restaurant.
Brooke: I’ll bet Dylan is still in love with me. Marrying Mimi Claire is like buying a cashmere sweater from Old Navy.
When they arrive, Dylan’s wife is not pleased.
Mimi: The last time I saw you you were hiding in the bushes yelling incoherently at me and my husband about how we had ruined my life. The time before that you were throwing up at my wedding.
But her husband is more positive
Dylan: You could’ve married me or a dozen other guys. But you wanted to be your own person.
Brooke: Yeah, I’m over that now.
Dylan: You’re funny cause you don’t know you’re funny.
Brooke: I know I’m funny. There’s nothing I don’t know about myself. That’s why I can’t do therapy.
MISTRESS AMERICA is a fast talking, screwball comedy with one big problem: Greta Gerwig’s character is someone that most people would want to avoid or get away from entirely. She’s not honest with herself or other people and she never lets herself be vulnerable until the end. By then she had lost me.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org