Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer, the granddaughter of Golden Age screenwriter Edwin Justus Mayer (author of such screwball fancies as Leisen’s “Midnight” and both versions of “To be Or Not To Be”) directed “party Girls” and “The Guru” as well as countless TV episodes. Here she gives nuance to the many female characters in :Neil LaBute’s play turned film.
La Bute is a dramatist who specializes in misogyny. I haven’t followed his later works, but this script seems like it’s coasting on his early revelatory style: as if he’s codified his world weary disgust into some over-practiced lexicon.
In Some Girls, a possibly remorseful man (simply known as “Man”), on the verge of his impending wedding, travels cross country to meet the significant women of his past to make amends. Adam Brophy (‘The O.C.”) meets each woman in a different hotel room. A series of revelations paint an increasingly uglier portrait of him in the audience’s eyes, if not his own.
The narcissistic author won’t let a little thing like uncomfortable truth change his agenda.
For those still in doubt, Labute’s smart-alecky coda makes it clear Man has learned nothing.
A passive aggressive “Peter Pan” and bounder, “Man” seems largely unconscious of the damage his habitual running away has caused in so many lives. In fact the author/ tenured professor has built a career exploiting his amorous history.The title comes from his dismissive description of his fiancee, a much younger nurse, as just “some girl.
For me Brophy felt constrained and lifeless in his metrically polished performance of La Bute’s oft wicked writing, Like the actors (Woody Allen manqué) forced to play Woody parts in his later films.
Sam (Jennifer Morrison-TV’s “Once Upon a Time) is the high-school sweetheart he abandoned before Prom night. Tyler (Mia Maestro” Twilight:”) is the sexually free partner he turned to to get over his first major break up. Bobbi (Kristen Bell-“The Lifeguard”) plays Bobbi, the one who got away. Indeed, as he shows her the picture of his fiancee, she’s a carbon copy of Bobbi back in the day.
La Bute’s script gives each actress plenty to do, but it’s the performances of two actresses that makes this film hum.
The resourceful Emily Watson illuminates her scene, as the prim older professor who risked her marriage for an affair with her younger colleague. A film diva, she manages La Bute’s metered theatrical writing , frosting it with the smoldering sensuality that has enlivened many of her performances.
Reggie (Zoe Kazan), his best friend’s little sister, tells Man a scabrous tale that unravels him. Kazan ( “Ruby Sparks”) lives up to her illustrious name. She is incandescent as the romantic young girl forever imprinted by errant Man’s irresponsible behavior. Her performance, a glissando of shifting memories, emotions and feints is the heart of the film.