I’ve been seeing this poster for quite a few months now. I didn’t know what it was about, but it was making some noticeable waves in the indie circuit. Finally, this damn thing is released. It looks like it’s a story about this woman who becomes obsessed with an internet celebrity who’s rich and pampered and sets out to California to become her best friend by changing her appearance. I wanna say that the two knew each other from a long time ago, but the internet girl doesn’t recognize her. I gotta say, it looks pretty funny.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Aubrey Plaza (THE LITTLE HOURS , MIKE AND DAVE , and TV show LEGION [2017- ongoing]), Elizabeth Olsen (WIND RIVER , CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR , GODZILLA , and the upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR ), and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON  and the upcoming GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS ). In support, we have Wyatt Russell (TABLE 19 , EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! , 22 JUMP STREET , and the upcoming GOON: LAST OF THE ENFORCERS ), Pom Klementieff (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 , OLD BOY , and the upcoming AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 3, no release date announced), and Charlie Wright (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL ).
Now for the crew. Directing and co-writing is Matt Spicer, known for projects I’ve not heard of. His partner-in-pen is Davis Branson, making his feature film debut as a writer. Congrats, sir. Co-composing the score are Jonathan Sadoff (THE MEDDLER , SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD , and STREET KINGS 2: MOTOR CITY ) and Nick Thorburn (feature film debut; congrats, sir). Finally, the cinematographer is Bryce Fortner, known for TV shows THE TICK (2017- ongoing) and 32 episodes of PORTLANDIA (2011-2015).
Overall, yeah, I wanna see this. I’m not overly stoked or anything, but I’ll make the trip to see it.
This is my honest opinion of: INGRID GOES WEST
Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) is a mental case who easily slips into obsession, which only got worse after her mother passed away. After getting locked away in a mental institute for attacking a woman she’d been stalking on Instagram, she returns to her life attempting to find a new outlet. Quickly, she finds a popular Instagram girl named Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen), and decides to move from her home and head west to Los Angeles, California and desperately seeks to become best friends with Taylor.
I surprisingly loved this movie.
Usually, I’m not one for comedies, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much heart this movie had. It would have been so easy to make Ingrid an unlikable and crazy character, making the movie about her antics, instead of about the exploration of her character and why she is the way she is and how she learns to overcome it. Ingrid is definitely a mentally unhinged person with a huge need to be dependent on a single friend, but while you can always disagree with her actions, there is this sorrow you feel for her. There’s even that question that you ask yourself, “Would *I* want to be friends with Ingrid?” I imagine the answers would be pretty checkered, but it’s both hard and easy to argue with both that answer “yes” and “no.” The truth is that Ingrid doesn’t mean harm. She takes things way too far, but you know she’s not a bad person. This is by far Plaza’s best film performance. I say “film” because it’s hard to top April Ludgate from PARKS AND REC. Then again, TV is different from a movie. We had six years to love April, whereas we only have ninety-plus minutes to love Ingrid, but Plaza pulled it off like a champ.
But she’s not the only one who steals the show. Can I just say how much I also loved Olsen? I never thought she had a comedic bone in her body, considering a vast majority of her films have been on the dramatic side, but she pulled off comedy extremely well. The first thing I fell in love with in terms of her performance was Taylor’s annoying laugh. Even though Ingrid finds zero fault with her, I love how cleverly written she is that there’s still some obvious… perks to her that most would find disagreeable. She’s materialistic, free-spirited, careless, well-meaning enough, but clearly loves her own life a little too much. She reminds me of a cliché popular high school girl that trash talks every little thing that she finds imperfect and clearly only wants the best in her life, even if there are those around her that are perfectly fine with what they have.
About the only person who isn’t quite as deep and subtle as a character is Dan (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), Ingrid’s romantic interest… er, maybe it’s more accurate to say that he fancies her. Either way, what Dan lacks in depth, he more than makes up for in charm and likability. A little too forgiving maybe, but it’s hard to hate on a fellow shameless Batman lover, even if his love extends to BATMAN FOREVER (1995). Oh who am I kidding? I like that movie too. Either way, he’s a fun bit of comic relief as well who sees the best in Ingrid, despite her constant screwing him over. Again, though, she does learn to acknowledge her faults and tries to make up for them eventually, so their relationship is developed over the course of the story and feels organic.
I do want to say that this movie isn’t always a laugh-out-loud type of film. It’s does have it’s fair share of laughs, but what I admire most about it is that it doesn’t stoop to bad jokes, or makes those less-than-savory jokes contribute to the characters a little bit more. In the end, it’s more likable and clever than it is funny. You’ll laugh when you need to, but I prefer my comedies with a heart and a brain, not a punchline.
Overall, I highly recommend this flick. It’s a very well-crafted comedy that somehow makes an internet stalker a complex, yet sympathetic person. The story never sugarcoats the presented problems, but it’s still about a person who learns and grows to become more independent, even if it hurts. If you like your comedies with a little more originality and more focused on character than stupid jokes, then this is right up your alley.
My honest rating for INGRID GOES WEST: 5/5