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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Ingrid Goes West (Blu-ray)
Ingrid Goes West (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // November 7, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted November 9, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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The Movie:

I don't know if people have been stereotyping Aubrey Plaza past her most well-known turn as the young and slightly goth April in NBC's Parks and Recreation, but she's quietly carved out a nice resume of work that allows her to expand her range and use her comic talents, and Ingrid Goes West is another in that vein, but also may be her most impressive work yet.

David Branson Smith co-wrote the film with Matt Spicer, the latter of whom made his feature debut. Plaza plays Ingrid, a woman we see at the beginning of the film pepper sprayed a friend at her wedding which Ingrid was not invited to. She packs up and moves to Los Angeles, and encounters Taylor (Elizabeth Olsen, Captain America: Civil War). Well, encounters is perhaps not the word to use. Ingrid is a Instagram junkie, and Taylor's witty photos and captions struck her fancy, so she developed a plan where she would meet Taylor and her beau Ezra (Wyatt Russell, 22 Jump Street). Ingrid hangs out with them and the friendship eventually becomes an imposition, as Ingrid's connections tend to be, and Ingrid tries to find any way she can to stay friends.

I knew little about the movie coming in but the first thing I was taken by was the complexity and range of Plaza's performance. She's awkward, alluring, and her anger lashes out in ways you'd never expect her to act, and the steps Ingrid takes to be part of Taylor orbit are extraordinary, and in a strange way reminiscent of The King of Comedy, but in a more modernized, personal way.

It helps that the ensemble makes the connections and relationships authentic. Olsen is good and plays off Plaza well, and I could have watched them on their road trip for another 30 minutes. Russell is good as is Bill Magnussen (Bridge of Spies), who plays Taylor's brother Nicky. O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) plays Ingrid's landlord and eventual love interest with the charisma and energy resonant in his Dad, Ice Cube.

But the film is Plaza's to carry and she does it effortlessly. Like Plaza, Ingrid Goes West has its share of deadpan jokes and black comedy elements, but it goes deeper than that, and winds up telling understated but effective messages about social media and the influences both good and bad, and the dangers of creating personal bubbles for the sake of comfort. It's got laughs, an engaging storyline and a better than anticipated performance by its lead. Go for the laughs but stay for the plot execution.

The Blu-ray:
Video:

The 2.40:1 widescreen presentation of Ingrid Goes West is a solid one as far as modest independent dark comedies go. The greens and yellows of California look good, even as the film moves into the browns of Joshua Tree. Black levels look nice and moments of softer lighting appear natural without moments of oversaturation or heat. There appears to be a moment or two of image softness but nothing that would distract from viewing. Universal puts in nice work here.

Audio:

Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, a minor surprise as it's not lossless but it does fine here. Dialogue is clean and consistent through the film, and when a borrowed car scrapes a guardrail the impact is surprising and goes across the soundstage. Past that the film lacks noticeable moments of channel panning or directional effect usage, but quieter moments when someone gets punched are robust enough that a whiff of a low-end presence can be detected. The source material doesn't do much but does sound effective and free of complaint.

Extras:

Plaza, Spicer and Smith join up for a commentary that's a little on the modest side. Not much information on the shoot is touched on, the trio spend a lot of time watching the film, broken up by pointing out a real location or person every so often. The production recall is disappointing and thus, so is the track. Three deleted scenes (8:12) are next, a couple of which could have been put into the final cut, and 4 trailers, including 2 red band ones, complete things.

Final Thoughts:

In its own way and in its own voice, Ingrid Goes West leverages how engaging Plaza is and turns the film into a bit of a showcase for her while gently warning the viewer on the dangers of social media in the modern age, and that part of it sneaks up on you and sticks with you for a while afterwards. Technically the disc is fine, though the commentary track is a bit of a downer. Nevertheless, the film is a pleasant surprise in its message and its laughs, and Plaza's development into a versatile actress continues to impress.

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