IT HAPPENED IN LA – A Review by Cynthia Flores
This is an indie rom-com for this generation and anyone who grew up watching great indie films from the 90’s. It’s funny and spot on while still managing to be charming with sophisticated humor and has great throwaway lines that people will be quoting for a while. I love the poster for the film with it’s wink to old classic films like It Happened One Night.
In It Happened in L.A, Director/Writer/Lead Actress Michelle Morgan (she was really a busy girl on this one) managed to capture the coolness of the 1995 indie classic female-driven Party Girl starring a then young Parker Posey with the swagger and love of LA that the 1996 indie buddy flick Swingers had.
The film takes place in L.A., current time frame. The story follows the love lives of two best early-thirty-somethings, Annette (Michelle Morgan), who is in a committed relationship with Elliot (Jorma Taccone) a now successful television writer and Baker (Dree Hemingway), her best friend who is tired of making all the same mistakes choosing the wrong guys.
Annette is high strung and very opinionated about manners and how to go about attaining the ideal of happiness in coupledom.
At a party, Annette lets her jealousy of the “perfect couple” Nora (Nora Zehetner) and Ben (Robert Schwartzman) push her into breaking up with Elliot and moving out to find what she thinks her friends have. In the meantime, Baker goes about trying to make the client she is decorating his home for, Tom (Tate Donovan), string her along and just use her for sex.
This film uses natural humor and witty dialogue to show just how tough it can be to find a real relationship in such an artificial town. It covers topics like dating prostitutes, moldable young empty headed twenty-year-olds or even dating your own cousin with an even hand and is able to find the humor in it all. The director’s choice to use avant-garde camera shots on some of the scenes doesn’t always work. On a few of them, I was not sure if that was really a choice so much as they made a mistake and didn’t have the money to reshoot it. Either way, it added to the “Non-Hollywood” grittiness you get in good independent movies.
It Happened in L.A. is a really good first film “chick flick” for this writer/director/actress to give us. I give it a solid B rating and look forward to seeing more movies created by her.
Directed by Michelle Morgan
Written By Michelle Morgan
Selig Rating B
Running Time 1hr 37min
Limited Release and available now on VOD
Starring: Michelle Morgan, Jorma Taccone, Dree Hemingway, Kentucker Audley, Adam Shapiro, Margarita Levieva, Robert Schwartzman, Tate Donovan
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.