Rated: R for language including some sexual references. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: August 14, 2015 Released by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Another successful collaboration between Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (after the oddly winsome, monochromatic Frances Ha featuring an aimless Brooklyn urchin) has another enjoyable distaff breeziness about it with enough ridiculousness after the opening reel. It helps that the latter collaborated with the director on the screenplay to give it some pronounced pizzazz with sardonic commentary on class.
In Mistress America Lola Kirke's outsider run-of-the-mill freshman collegiate Tracy has trouble meshing with a rarefied literary coterie. The crestfallen young woman gets an unexpected boost in life and educational sustenance from the peculiarly adventurous Times Square-based Brooke, a capricious, lively Gerwig. Brooke's uninhibited presence helps make the female pairing palatable as much of the humor comes from a plush Connecticut outskirts where the duo's pressured vicissitudes include lithe incidents. A discordant transition doesn't prove off-putting with increasingly apace broad comedy benefitted by the acerbic scenarists.
Like Tracy it's hard not to be drawn into Brooke's idiosyncratic vivacity and some cineastes may be reminded of silver-screen stalwarts like Billy Wilder and Howard Hawks. Other female supporting characters fitting into a mirthful milieu include Heather Lind's former confidant and Jasmine Cephas-Jones's intolerant girlfriend. The men may take less prominence but help color in a welcome unbridled tone - a former fiance (Michael Chernus) and an infatuation (Matthew Shear in effective understatement).
A feminine-empowered updating of classic farces helps propel an eccentric (perhaps too much for some) Mistress America but there's much creative spirit on display from the adjustments allotted by a future stepsister.