Directed by: Daisy von Scherler Mayer
Written by: Neil LaBute
Starring: Adam Brody, Zoe Kazan, Mia Maestro, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison and Emily Watson
Neil LaBute is like the bad boyfriend of directors. You know he’ll ultimately make you feel like crap but you just can’t keep yourself from coming back for more. He burst on the scene with In The Company of Men (1997). At the time, the film broke new ground with its horrific story of a couple of misogynist men messing with an innocent, unassuming woman in order to abate their own shortcomings in previous relationships.
The film was shocking, disturbing and compulsively watchable. Admitting to liking the movie felt like a betrayal to scorned women everywhere. LaBute turned the tables in The Shape of Things (2003). Rachel Weisz played Evelyn, an art student who decides to mess with a nice man just for the fun of it. Her calculated emotional destruction of Adam (played by Paul Rudd) was chilling.
Daisy von Scherler Mayer directs Some Girl(s), adapted from LaBute’s play. To nobody’s surprise, the film features an unlikable male lead. This time it’s Adam Brody, known only as The Writer in the film. He plays a writer visiting a smattering of his old girlfriends in the hopes of tying up loose ends before his upcoming nuptials. It becomes apparent that he left a trail of emotional carnage in his wake.
Each visit reopens old wounds and heartache. The unfortunate truth is that he is so self absorbed that none of it seems to register with him. He actually thinks he is a great guy for making the effort. After all, these women have the distinct honor of making his short list, narrowed down from his list of many women.
Some Girl(s) features a wonderful cast including Zoe Kazan, Mia Maestro, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Morrison and Emily Watson. Kazan’s sequence is particularly moving as she recounts how her innocence was stolen by The Writer’s advances when she was an impressionable preteen. It’s downright heartbreaking. Watson is also terrific as one of The Writer’s older conquests who lays claim to a small victory when she extracts a little revenge during his visit.
The sets are sparse; most scenes take place in hotel rooms, so the narrative is completely dialogue-driven. Though Scherler Mayer directs, the film distinctly feels like some of LaBute’s early directing efforts. The movie explores the longstanding implications that stem from seemingly fleeting moments in relationships.
It’s easy to feel sorry for these women, but eventually you’ll find that they are the lucky ones. It’s The Writer’s unknown fiancé who really deserves our sympathy. She’s going to marry the cad who will never change his ways. Some Girl(s) is classic LaBute; raw, callous and of course, compulsively watchable. – Shannon