Review: Predictably Vapid Lovers in "It Happened in L.A."

I very rarely enjoy watching indie romantic comedies, which frequently feature unlikable characters who make poor decisions to convey fairly obvious messages about love and relationships. Unfortunately, It Happened in L.A. is no exception to this pattern. 
The movie begins by looking at the relationship of Annette (Michelle Morgan, who makes her debut as the screenwriter and director) and Elliott (Jorma Taccone). Annette cannot stop comparing her own relationship to that of her friends, who are blissfully happy and in love with each other, and Elliott is beginning to grow a bit weary of Annette’s discontent with things in general, like Milton-Bradley games and scratches on the trash can and walking a mile. Predictably, Annette decides to end the relationship and moving out of TV writer Elliott’s home and house-sitting for her happy couple friends, against the recommendation of her best friend Baker (Dree Hemingway). It’s fine, though, that Annette disregards Baker’s advice because Baker is a mess who sleeps with men too early and doesn’t have personal experience with healthy relationships, so who cares what she says. (If it isn't abundantly clear, my least favorite character in this movie is Annette. I think it is supposed to be, but still, I can't take characters that are this unlikable.) 

Oh the terrible hi-jinks that ensue. Annette decides to holler at some hipster she met at the farmer’s market literal years ago while she was dating Elliott whose number she took down “just in case things didn’t work out” with whom she had an instant connection and attraction. (Ugh. Girl.) As one can expect, things don’t go hunky dory with this new guy, much to Annette’s surprise. Meanwhile, Elliott, who was a bit blindsided by the breakup and did not have the backup plans that Annette did, finds himself learning about dating from the young cast members of the hit TV show he writes and a jaded hooker. Meanwhile, Baker is dealing with secretly sleeping with her boss and getting set up with her cousin’s always-MIA coworker. And here’s a spoiler that is crazy obvious when revealed: the happy couple that triggered Annette’s breakup is not so happy after all. 

I’m not sure how to enjoy indie rom-coms, because I don’t know what they are trying to tell me. That people are dumb? That relationships are hard and require good communication? That Los Angeles has a terrible dating scene? These are not big revelations and movies like It Happened in L.A. are not presenting them to me in a particularly novel way. This movie seems to try to hop onto the success of La La Land, another movie about lovers in LA, but comes across more like the SNL sketch series "The Californians", with references to specific street names and LA character tropes like the TV writer and the art buff and the cool damaged girl. There are nuggets of truth that I enjoyed uncovering but, overall, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you don’t enjoy rolling your eyes.

Rating: 1.5/5