Ingrid Goes West, B
Rated R, 97 minutes
The giddy, subversive comedy "Ingrid Goes West" is a comic showcase for "Parks and Recreation" Aubrey Plaza, who is destined for stardom. It also takes online stalking and friendship to a new level, prompting you to think of the impact of technology on our relationships.
Following the death of her mother and a series of self-inflicted setbacks, young Ingrid Thorburn (Plaza) escapes a humdrum existence by moving out West to befriend her Instagram obsession, a Los Angeles socialite named Taylor Sloane ("Wind River's" Elizabeth Olsen). After a quick bond is forged between these unlikeliest of buddies, the facade begins to crack in both women's lives -- with comically malicious results.
"Ingrid Goes West" is directed and co-written by up-and-coming filmmaker Matt Spicer, and the deliciously funny comedy provides as much a breakout for him as it does his lead actress. Speaking of which, Ingrid is played by "Parks and Recreation" star Plaza, and you've seen her in mostly supporting parts in such comedies as "Dirty Grandpa" and "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates," but she shines with awkward appeal as the off-kilter girl with an unhealthy online obsession, way too much time on her hands, and an inheritance to blow.
As Taylor, Ingrid's obsession and new friend, Olsen shows some decent comic chops but mostly a good foil for Plaza. O'Shea Jackson, Wyatt Russell and Billy Magnussen also get in a few good moments as those caught in Ingrid's fray to be like Taylor. The film's best moments are in the first two acts, when Ingrid tries desperately to be like Taylor and then weave her way into her life; it goes a little off-the-rails in an over-the-top last act that has Ingrid getting way, way too involved in Taylor's family life.
As "Ingrid Goes West" turns dark later in the film, it all ends as subversively and funny as it began, and it may prompt questions such as, what will happen to your online legacy after you're gone? The indie comedy is a nice late-summer treat, and especially a treat for Plaza, who shows terrific comic prowess and timing here.