Aubrey Plaza, you rock.
Plaza, due for a satisfying film vehicle after slumming it in a pair of Zac Efron "comedies" and a handful of other middling projects, is dead-on brilliant in her latest picture, Ingrid Goes West. It's a funny, sad, scary, all-around amazing performance that deserves to (but sadly probably won't) be talked up for Oscar consideration.
The Matt Spicer-directed film, which won warm notices at Sundance earlier this year, follows Ingrid Thorburn, a young woman who lives vicariously through social media superstars. Fresh out of rehab after pepper spraying an Instagram idol who neglected to invite Ingrid to her wedding and reeling from the recent death of her mom, Ingrid bolts her humdrum existence for Venice Beach, where the latest apple of her eye - the glamorous, seemingly perfect Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen) resides.
In Cali, Ingrid manages to convincingly weasel her way into Taylor's fabulous life and inner circle. She also bonds with her Batman-obsessed (as in, the Joel Schumacher entries) landlord Dan (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), who doesn't hesitate to play boyfriend to Ingrid at Taylor's swanky house parties.
Ingrid Goes West is deliriously fun, fresh and topical over its first hour, slipping only a bit late in the game with a plot turn involving Taylor's insufferable brother Nicky (Billy Magnussen) that rings as uninspired vis a vis the prior proceedings. That said, even if the final half hour loses some of the liveliness and novelty, Plaza's still in there giving 100 percent, able to run a gamut of emotions without once striking a false note.
Also terrific are Olsen, pitch-perfect as the artificially bubbly Taylor, and Jackson, warm and witty as the picture's most emotionally grounded figure. One of the best parts of Ingrid Goes West is that relationship that blossoms between Ingrid and Dan, a bond that builds without the need for any of that pesky social media.
This is in ingenious comedy that sports one of the year's finest leading turns.