“Lady-Like” is the kind of cute-coeds-act-coarse comedy that calls for us to revive a word that isn’t used enough these days.
“Blowsy.” That’s the best six-letter description of anti-heroine Allie (Stephanie Simbari of “Coldwater”). Park her character somewhere below “trollop,” somewhat above “floozy” or as the kids say these days, “skank.”
“Blowsy” Allie isn’t a comment on her fixation with oral sex, or talking about it with BSSF (best sorority sister etc.) Kort, blandly-played by Allie Gallerani of “Professor Marston and the Wonder Wome.”
Allie is brash, brazen, too young to be a hussy but collegiate enough to refer to her “sloppy sophomore sandwich” as something she’s “not going to judge” herself for.
She oversleeps, slacks off, texts and giggles about texting in class, spends Daddy’s money and counts the days until she and Kort take their summer break trip to Europe. “No boyfriend” until she gets back, she vows. She needs to knuckle down if she’s going to het that Mrs. Degree, the house in Chevy Chase, the husband in the State Dept. in D.C.
And frankly she’s a little shocked when Kort suggests SHE could apply herself and get all that on her own. She’s even more shocked that Kort didn’t take her overbearing declaration as an edict for them both.
Kort meets a handsome lacrosse player at their DC area college (filmed at Princeton and in and around Washington). And she dares to fall in love.
“Lady-Like” is about Allie’s abandonment spiral after Kort finds her some “Nantucket nector,” Daniel (Zak Steiner).
That’s not a helluva lot to hang a college rom-com on, but writer-director Brent Craft loses himself in this male wish fulfillment fantasy about what college girls are REALLY like and Simbari, a firecracker who plays this kid like the 30ish, confident woman she was when she was cast, makes the best of it.
The film has the tinge of “The Male Gaze” about it, although the raunch is almost entirely verbal. Craft’s foul-mouthed farce has some winning lines, girl-talk interrupted by sorority sisters’ demanding “Are you guys gonna ‘scissor’ all night, or are we gonna PARTY?”
Have a drink. “I call this the Ben Affleck. Because you drink this, you’re gonna be GONE girl!”
The fluffiest scenes are the ones where Kort and Allie bond over trying on date dresses at a tony Georgetown “Forever 21” clone. “We’ve gotta have more Beyoncé, less Bea Arthur!”
The promiscuous sorority atmosphere is fleshed out with Olivia Luccardi and Corinne Mestemacher, finding just enough funny stuff in the script to say to make an impression.
“Is that a hickey? Who DID it?”
“Lady-Like” feels oddly subdued for an R-rated comedy these days. That’s because it’s ten minutes shorter than its festival release cut. The dirtest scene was apparently omitted.
Probably wouldn’t have helped.
But Simbari, however the boys’ fantasy girls screenplay lets her down, makes the most of a starring role, a little Alia Shawcat bravado and vamp, a hint of Jillian Bell hurt. Find this woman better roles than this! Or a sitcom!
MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual material and language throughout, and brief graphic nudity
Cast:Stephanie Simbari, Olivia Luccardi, Corinne Mestemacher, Zak Steiner and Beverly D’Angelo
Credits: Written and directed by Brent Craft. A Craftsmen Media/Netflix release.
Running time: 1:22