“Ingrid Goes West”

Aubrey Plaza needs more dramatic work. #Ingridgoeswest.

Plaza plays Instagram stalker, Ingrid. After a stint at a mental hospital, Ingrid becomes obsessed with Instagram model Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) and moves to Los Angeles, stalking Taylor in the process. They become friends (Taylor’s oblivious to Ingrid’s behavior), but what happens when Taylor’s punk brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) enters the picture? Also, who’s really the villain?

Ingrid Goes West starts as a sharp, darkly funny satire. With its jabs at hipster culture and avocado toast, I found a few good laughs. I also was blown away by Plaza’s brave performance as Ingrid. She’s funny, scary, sad, and brutally honest.

Ingrid is a complex character ; an unhinged person who wants what we all want – happiness. Can we blame her for leaving behind her old life for a better one in California? Despite the wrong reasons, no.

Olsen also turns in another great performance this year (check out her work in Wind River). As Taylor, Olsen plays the phony celebrity gracefully. Taylor’s friendship with Ingrid is one-sided and we can see that Taylor only hangs out with her for her own benefit. We root for Ingrid since she’s too delusional to see Taylor’s true colors.

The satirical edge fades in the second half as Ingrid Goes West turns into a standard romantic comedy. Give me less of Ingrid’s relationship with the Batman fanboy Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) and more of the psycho thriller/dark comedy moments. Dan starts as a sweet, quirky love interest, but after the millionth Batman Forever reference, I got bored of their romance.

Ingrid Goes West briefly returns to its dark roots in the final act with a strong message on social media and loneliness. It’s just unfortunate that it went off the rails in its uneven second act. Regardless, I still recommend Ingrid Goes West for Plaza and Olsen alone.

Grade: B-

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“Unforgettable”

The stalker film is dead. After “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,” “Unlawful Entry,” “The Gift,” “The Loft,” “Mother’s Boys,” “Fear,” “When the Bough Breaks,” “Fatal Attraction,” and now “Unforgettable,” can we agree it’s time to call it quits? Especially since “Unforgettable” rips off several of the titles mentioned above?

Successful blogger Julia (Rosario Dawson) gets engaged to the handsome David (Geoff Stults), but they both have baggage. Julia has an abusive ex she hasn’t told David about. David’s ex, Tessa (a surprisingly solid Katherine Heigl) isn’t over David and wants to ruin Julia’s life. If you’ve seen any of the movies I mentioned earlier, you can guess what happens next.

I don’t know what prompted Dawson and Heigl to star in “Unforgettable,” but they look as miserable as their characters throughout this unforgettable trash. The only times they seem to enjoy themselves are when they’re drinking (I’m almost positive that’s actual alcohol).

I’ll give props to Heigl. I’m not a fan, but she provides a few chilling moments. It’s not enough to make up for the film’s generic, unsubtle, unimaginative, illogical, and sexist screenplay.

The best psycho thrillers start subtle and slowly reveal the character’s sinister traits. I liked Gordo in “The Gift,” Pete in “Unlawful Entry,” Jude in “Mother’s Boys,” David in “Fear”, and Alex in “Fatal Attraction” upon introduction because they were restrained. There’s no subtlety in Tessa’s introduction and we know right away she’s nuts!

“Unforgettable” borrows heavily from the films mentioned earlier. Whether it’s a steamy public sex scene (“Fear”), Julia receiving an anonymous gift on the porch (“The Gift”), or Tessa kicking someone out of her car after having sex (“Unlawful Entry”), the writers seem content writing a serious of homages to superior thrillers.

As far as logic goes, “Unforgettable” has zilch. How can someone have a fancy house, but can’t afford to pay their lawyer? Why are people so casual about Tessa’s controlling, abusive behavior? Why do most conversations revolve around men and how good they are in bed?

We’re also treated to an unwanted cliffhanger that will set up a sequel. SPOILER ALERT – the sequel (if it gets made at all) will have Tessa’s overbearing mother (Cheryl Ladd) as the villain. But why?! “Unforgettable” would have passed as a character study of a broken, unstable anti-hero; not the millionth psycho stalker movie.

Grade: D-