A limp attempt at recapturing the snarl and sex appeal of a bygone era’s gangster pictures, the film mostly feels like an excuse for big names to play dress up in fedoras.Stone isn’t terrible as Grace, the girlfriend of an infamous crime boss (Sean Penn) who starts to have feelings for the cop (Gosling) who’s helping to bring him down.Stone isn’t necessarily to blame — nostalgic, old-school-Hollywood-themed movie in which Stone plays an aspiring actress who moves to Los Angeles to become famous and falls in love with Ryan Gosling.Of her three collaborations with Gosling, this one is easily the worst.Stone gets a thankless, off-brand role as a moping member of a teenage rock band that drafts a former drummer from a Metallica-esque group (Wilson) to fill in so they can play their school prom.This thing is junky — and it’s not Wilson’s fault he has to do so much heavy lifting, in his underwear no less.Stone and Samberg would have the opportunity to reconnect a few years later with her cameo in , analyzing morality, guilt, and the absence of God in the midst of a murder plot.Stone’s role is crucial — she comes to understand just how troubled and dangerous her teacher is, and must take action — but the actress doesn’t bring enough gravitas to this drama.
She looks lost and flailing most of the time, forced to carry way too much of the narrative and the film’s attempts at charm.In the span of a decade, she has gone from a first-time movie actress (in ) to one of the most popular performers in the world, not to mention an Oscar winner.And as with Keaton toward the start of her career, it’s not difficult to imagine Stone getting even better from here, expanding her scope as an actor without sacrificing any of her inherent affability.But that joke, like many in , isn’t particularly good, and it also doesn’t help that Stone plays Allison with a little too much earnest adorableness, never establishing much of a rapport with Bradley Cooper’s spiritually adrift military contractor.(That’s a problem, considering they’re supposed to fall in love.) Stone has since apologized for her part in the whitewashed casting, satirizing herself during a 2015 only comes to life when Stone is onscreen as a teenage girl who befriends this sad-sack after losing her twin sister. One is a cruel but admirably strange joke on homeschooling starring Watts and Liev Schreiber, and the other is a gonzo scene in which Stone and Kieran Culkin exchange supercharged sexual banter in a grocery store over the intercom.