Review: Big laughs in 'Greta,' few of them intentional
Chloë Grace Moretz and Isabelle Huppert star in misfire thriller
Camp is hard to define, but it's easy to spot. Case-in-point: "Greta."
This obsession tale quickly hops its track from thriller to so-bad-its-good comic ride. Whether or not this is intentional is a mystery that lies with its director, Neil Jordan, who made "The Crying Game," so you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. But that benefit gets mighty doubtful as the film plays out.
Chloë Grace Moretz is eerily wooden as Frances, a naive, new-to-New York gal who finds a purse left behind on the subway. She returns it to its owner, a warm, friendly French piano teacher named Greta (Isabelle Huppert), and in each other, the two find something they're both lacking. Frances helps Greta, who is lonely and missing her daughter, adopt a dog from the pound.
The relationship quickly turns stalker-y when Greta won't leave Frances alone, eventually spending entire days standing outside the restaurant where Frances is a waitress. And when Frances finds Greta's stash of identical purses, she realizes she's caught in a deadly game straight out of "Fatal Attraction" or "Single White Female," which she's too young to have seen unless they're streaming on Netflix.
Whether it's meant to or not, "Greta" has several laugh-out-loud moments, many involving Greta's text messaging proficiency on her 2006-era phone. If "Greta" is satire, Huppert seems to understand so better than Moretz; the fact that they're consistently on different pages renders "Greta" a major mess, but it's also what could extend its shelf-life well past its sell-by date. Camp works in mysterious ways.
Rated R: for some violence and disturbing images
Running time: 98 minutes