There are films that have been in my Netflix watchlist for years now. So long ago that it was still called the Queue when I added them. Remember that? Working my way through the long-timers has been a treat. Sure, most of them are subpar, but you get the occasional gem. I had a feeling that Frank & Lola was gonna be one of those, but the film never goes as far as it promises. It's simply juggling too much. Frank's career as a chef, Lola's fashion thing with Justin Long, the weird French nightclub stuff, the rape that may not have happened. None of it gels together. In the end, we get a forgettable erotic thriller that could've been great.
Frank (Shannon, who is so good that he keeps this thing from falling apart) is a talented Las Vegas chef who meets Lola (Poots), a gorgeous trainwreck of a human being. They fall for each other hard and things appear to be going well. Then, out of the blue, Lola cheats on Frank, and he's equal parts devastated and livid. She says she never would have done it if not for this guy who raped her years ago in Paris. Frank, who happens to be going to Paris to audition for a restaurant owner looking for a head chef, tracks the guy down. Alan (Nyqvist) gives Frank evidence that his relationship with Lola was consensual and he's been played. From there, this thing just gets unnecessarily complex, and you don't know who the bad guy really is. By the end, you kinda do, but I feel like the punch was missing. You just feel bad for Frank, who got swept up in this bullshit because he fell for the wrong girl.
There are pieces of Frank & Lola that I really like, particularly Michael Shannon's committed performance. But the ending lacks the explosive finale it felt like the film was building up to. Plus, with so many subplots competing for the main, none of them have a deserved conclusion. I think Matthew Ross has a great movie in him. Shame it wasn't this.