It Happened in L.A. (NR)

November 10, 2017
By Tatiana Craine
In Michelle Morgan's biting romantic comedy It Happened in L.A., a neurotic writer is hell-bent on uncovering whether the idea of a perfect couple is an urban myth. Annette (Morgan) and Elliot (Jorma Taccone) are a 30-something couple in Los Angeles who, wouldn't you know, work in the entertainment biz. After more than five years together, Annette's starting to feel FOMO, especially when she compares her relationship to that of an acquaintance who's floating on coupledom's cloud nine.

Morgan's comedy of manners shows promise, between its characters' games of Prostitute or Not? and its illustrations of mid-30s ennui. But it's hard to find the neuroses of these unabashedly navel-gazing Angelenos compelling for an entire feature. Eventually, ultra-capricious Annette ends things with Elliot and moves on to her next draft pick: a farmers market guy with long eyelashes. Meanwhile, her bestie Baker (Dree Hemingway) is a desperately lovelorn interior decorator who makes a habit of sleeping with people "too early" — or so says Annette, whose judgment seemingly knows no bounds.

At times, Morgan's script inspires laughs; but at others, the witticisms seem forced. Whit Stillman and Woody Allen are clear influences, but there's too little sweet to balance the sour, and the stakes remain defiantly low. It Happened in L.A. is beautiful to look at, but on an emotional level, it's almost as empty as the mansions Baker attempts to zhuzh up.

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