Thursday, August 25, 2016

[Review] Maggie's Plan

Indie staple Greta Gerwig leads the way in this low-key romantic dramedy with a scholarly twist.

The self-anointed "bridge between art and commerce" Maggie (Gerwig) is anxious to become a mother and has an artificial insemination plan all lined up. Meanwhile, she falls for an anthropology professor named John (Ethan Hawke). 3 years later, Maggie and John are now married, but Maggie regrets it. So, she attempts to get John and his haughty ex-wife (Julianne Moore) back together.

It takes a while to get going, and the initial flash-forward is awkwardly abrupt and disjointed, but eventually the narrative settles (kind of) as Maggie engages in an unconventional and freshly spun matchmaker/love triangle role. The script wields around large words, as if it's browsing through the glossary in a college textbook or scrolling through a list of advanced courses with long-ass titles. It's impressive, but also unnecessarily sesquipedalian(!)--like you've been thrown into a random lecture hall against your will. So it'd be completely understandable if the stuffiness was a turn-off for some.

And even if it's by design, Maggie's Plan still can't help but feel a little too confused about which direction it's going in and what exactly it's attempting to achieve, story-wise. It also lacks the utter charm, humor, and heart of, say--Frances Ha or Mistress AmericaHowever, the early screwball scene of Maggie injecting the sperm and then crab-walking across her apartment to answer the door is hilarious. Greta Gerwig is great as always and a little less loopy than usual, while Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph lend some amusing supporting roles as a bickering couple.

Maggie's Plan isn't going to change lives, but if you're a Greta fan, it's worth enrolling in for 90 minutes.

( 7/10 )

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