And Then Came Lola

Wolfe Vide,

Ellen Seidler,
Megan Sile

Megan Siler

Ashleigh Sumner,
Jill Bennett,
Jessica Graham,
Cathy DeBuono,
Angelyna Martinez

Unrated, 71 minutes

Run For Your Life
by Michael D. Klemm
Posted online October, 2010

Lola doesn't like the "pressure of being on time." But she tries and that's the hook that drives And Then Came Lola, a rather sweet and likable indie inspired by the hip 90s German arthouse hit, Run Lola Run. First time filmmakers Ellen Seidler and Megan Siler undoubtedly had a ball making this flm and it shows.

"I'm always good at the beginning," Lola (Ashleigh Sumner) says to the camera, "Not so good at middles and I never get through to the end." But this time is going to be different and she has three chances to get it right. Lola is a gifted, but ditzy, photographer with a string of bad relationships behind her. Lola's current girlfriend, Casey, is played by Jill Bennett (Dante's Cove). She might be the next casualty.

Lola is awoken (mid-afternoon) by a hysterical phone call from Casey. She desperately needs Lola's help. Casey is meeting a client at a bar for an important presentation and the photo lab was closed when she tried to pick up the prints that she needs. She asks Lola to get the pictures for her and bring them to the meeting - and begs her not to be late. But Lola is notorious for perpetual tardiness. It's also daylight savings time and she forgot to re-set her alarm clock. Will she make it on time?

Everything that can possibly go wrong does. A smug meter maid has just locked the wheels on Lola's car because she owes over $200 in parking tickets. Lola's only recourse, when bribery doesn't work (and after she also misses the bus) is to run across town. Hurdles along the way include a reckless motorcycle and an encounter with an angry young woman and her vicious dog. The photography lab is run by Lola's ex, Jen (Jessica Graham from 2 Minutes Later). She gives Lola a hard time when she realizes that the pictures are for her new girl friend. Meanwhile, Casey is trying to stall her client. Lola thinks that the client, referred to as "Danny," is a man but Danny is really Danielle, an aggresively sexy woman. Danielle (Cathy DeBuono) is an old friend with romantic designs. While Lola is making a mad dash through the streets of San Francisco, things are heating up between the two women at the bar.

I wrote that Lola has three chances to get it right. The scenario reaches a climax when Lola finally makes it to the bar and gets a nasty surprise. But then, as if it was perhaps a dream, we see Lola waking up to the same panicky phone call and the story starts over again, and then again a third time. Each time the story plays out with variations to a different conclusion. Will the third time be a charm for Lola and Casey?

Trilogy films like this, in which a story is re-told in three different ways (or three separate tales connect together in some fashion) are becoming a common phenomenon in movies. Run Lola Run also re-iterated the same story with different outcomes. Previous queer examples include 2001's Drift and the more recent Pornography: A Thriller. Films like this are intriguing and And Then Came Lola is a lot of fun.

Most of And Then Came Lola is very funny. The mood is breezy but frantic and never gets boring. Punkish girl group music helps propel the action. To add even more movement when Lola races through the streets of San Francisco, playful animation sometimes replaces the live action. Rapid-fire still frames set to loud music, such as Lola imagining the meter maid as an S&M mistress, are hilarious.

Adding more humor are a number of talking head scenes, interspersed at strategic spots across the film, where Lola and both girlfriends look disgusted as they speak with a therapist. Many of the film's best lines are delivered during these sessions; like Jen remarking that Lola has "relationship deficit syndrome" and that, when they met, Lola said that she was "immune to lesbian bed death." Lola often breaks the fourth wall and directly addresses the audience with comments like "You know women, they want to commit. But I'm not that lesbian, I'm more like a man in that way." During one of the funniest scenes, Jen's new girlfriend (Candy Tolentino) drives Lola from the photo lab to the bar. She doesn't realize who Lola is and, to make conversation, tells the flabbergasted Lola all the stories that Jen unloaded on her about her ex and what a train wreck she was.

The filmmakers are upfront about And Then Came Lola being an homage to Run Lola Run. Initially I put off penning a review because it is so similar to the German cult classic in style and mood. I liked the movie but was also troubled. There is a fine line between homage and ripoff but, in the case of And Then Came Lola, the similarities are all surface and the plot doesn't resemble Run Lola Run's in the least. When you get down to it, all movies are derivative in some fashion and there are no new plots under the sun. And Then Came Lola is a very entertaining film. It is also a love letter to San Francisco. Emphasizing some of the local queer flavor, Lola runs past a lesbian community center and through Harvey Milk Plaza. Most, if not all, of the cast and crew are sisters; making the film a real family affair.

The film's central situations and couples provide myriad opportunities for both comedy and drama. It is well written, filmed and acted. The actresses all have terrific comic timing and chemistry. When the film isn't funny, it's sexy. Those looking for a film that heats up with steam will love And Then Came Lola. All of the women are attractive and, because the trilogy format allows for such variations, the audience is treated to the characters having sex in assorted pairings. This is a date movie for the couple who wants to get laid and comes highly recommended.


Jessica Graham also appears in:
2 Minutes Later