Blu-Ray Review – Mistress America

It’s interesting to see a director try and position someone as their muse when it clearly isn’t happening. Greta Gerwig, queen of the once burgeoning microbudgeted mumblecore movement, has now had her career altered slightly forward as she’s now one of the more prominent actresses in the indie scene. Noah Baumbach has positioned himself in the Wes Anderson mold and his girlfriend (Gerwig) is his muse. It’s just that it takes a certain type to really find his films with her amusing because the sort of cutesy pretentiousness that many of Anderson’s films have aren’t there for Baumbach. Baumbach may be a frequent collaborator with Anderson but behind the camera his films lack the same sort of uniqueness to it.

Mainly they feel more pretentious than anything else.

Mistress America is yet another attempt at “quirky” that just doesn’t feel the part. Tracy (Lola Kirke) is a college freshman in New York City who’s lonely. She’s about to gain a stepsister, Brooke (Gerwig), and the two quickly bond. Tracy is a bystander to her wacky schemes to start a restaurant and the film follows Tracy, a burgeoning writer, as she’s a pseudo-sidekick to Brooke and her grand schemes in a sort of twee-screwball style comedy.

The problem is that Baumbach is aiming for such a small audience, the hipster types, that the film just doesn’t connect to anyone who isn’t in that audience. The film for anyone outside it comes off as pretentious and borderline criminally unfunny; it’s hard to get into the film because it’s aiming for more of a screwball, ’50s comedy but has enough pretension to it that it’s hard to get into it.

If you’re a Wes Anderson/Noah Baumbach fanboy or fangirl than Mistress America is in your wheelhouse. For everyone else … wait for it to come to Netflix.

Some promo materials and a trailer are the main extras.

Fox Searchlight presents Mistress America. Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Greta Gerwig, Lola Kirke. Run Time: 86 minutes Rated R. Released on DVD: 12.1.2015

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