With social media playing such a pivotal part in all our lives nowadays, the arrival of Matt Spicer's directorial debut Ingrid Goes West is perhaps quite timely and relevant, but just how good is the film overall?

Sadly, it's not good. This is for many reasons, least of which is the screenplay - penned by Spicer too. Our eyes into this story are that of Ingrid Thornburn (Aubrey Plaza); she ends up in a mental asylum for six months or so, seeking help for her damaging and unhealthy social-media addiction and obsession with others, but quickly finds herself back into her old habits after release, when she starts obsessing over Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) - "your new celeb girl crush", as a magazine headline blares. Deciding to go find her in real-life, after Taylor replies to a comment of hers, Ingrid heads west to meet her new idol and, when the pair eventually hit it off, they blossom an unusual, unlikely friendship. But things go awry quickly and we have a film. And the story is all over the place. For about 15/20 minutes, there seems to be quite a fascinating and fresh narrative arc that is going somewhere but it derails as soon as Ingrid meets Taylor and the film runs out of things to do.
The basic concept for Ingrid Goes West is quite compelling and the film certainly starts off strong, but it just kind of loses its footing very early on and scratches its head for where to take the narrative from there. In essence, this film is just a string of various random events and interactions that occur but without much consequence to character or story just for the sake of adding to the runtime. It all leads nowhere and is fairly boring as a result; there are various subplots the film tries to throw in but each and every one lacks as much focus as our central throughline does and it really convolutes the proceedings. The writing just lacks much focus and any real depth or compelling edge to it; even the characters themselves are all so bland and one-dimensional and awkward. But not in the way they're supposed to come off as. More so, cringe-worthy to watch. They're painfully annoying and grating. For a comedy too, the film is surprisingly very unfunny. Again, this all boils down to the results of a very mawkish and unfocused screenplay and lazy writing.

Matt Spicer comes from a background of short films, and Ingrid Goes West would perhaps be best suited as one. It starts off entertaining and intriguing enough, but its quick to lose its steam and has around an hour or so of meandering around aimlessly; it just feels like a short film dragged out into feature-format, but not having enough ideas to execute to fill out a runtime quota. The direction is certainly competent enough; there is nothing about it that really pops but the film looks slick and, technically, feels fine. The performances are decent too; Plaza and Olsen are good in our leading roles, even O'Shea Jackson Jr brings warmth to the character of screenwriter - and avid Batman fan, lest we forget - Dan. But even these three leads can't really save this film from falling; it has the potential, it just lacks the focus and execution and is instead very forgettable and pretty bland.

VERDICT:

Ingrid Goes West has the potential, it just lacks the execution. Instead, it's a bland affair that lacks any comedic edge and is instantly forgettable.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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