Opens at Varsity, Fri., Sept. 12. Not rated. 97 minutes.
Did Los Angeles sign with a new agent? Heretofore best known for its performances as urban jungle, moneyed playground, and future dystopia, Angel City gets a chance to flex its acting muscles in writer-director Alex Holdridge's enjoyably retro romantic comedy, where it stars as the sort of blissful black-and-white lovers' paradise usually played by New York, London, or Paris. Holdridge is keenly aware of the chief potential pitfall here: There's nothing especially romantic about sitting in your car on the freeway. So he gets his characters—a self-pitying Texas transplant (the appealingly rumpled Scoot McNairy) and an impetuous aspiring actress (screwball ingénue Sara Simmonds), who meet cute via Craigslist on a lonely New Year's Eve—out of the gridlock and onto public transit, from Hollywood to downtown and back again, where they banter, bicker, and just maybe fall in love. Holdridge's film oscillates wildly between low-key romantic comedy and antic slapstick and doesn't always hit the mark, but it has charm to burn, as well as a welcome eye for the timeless in a rapidly changing metropolis.