Damsels in Distress

Director: Whit Stillman
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 2.0

A group of pompous college girls (headed by Greta Gerwig) decide to try to 'reform' their campus using a variety of means, including setting up a center for suicide prevention and sending out bars of soap for the unwashed (and creating a dance sensation to cure depression). I'm not sure if this is supposed to be some kind of send-up of college attitudes or what, because it basically fails as satire: Stillman, now in his 60's, seems like he should be focusing more on people his own age (with his own background) instead of trying to figure out what 20-year-olds are thinking about (plus, he did a decent job covering the whole post-college malaise with The Last Days of Disco). It's self-consciously quirky and more than a little out-of-touch, yet Stillman hasn't lost his ear for humorously bizarre dialogue, and hearing these eccentric characters he creates speak (and lie and make up stories) and explain their philosophies (like the one uncouth man who only engages in anal intercourse as a part of his 'religion') is pleasurable.