Appropriate Behavior (US, 86 min.)
Directed by Desiree Akhavan
This Brooklyn-20-something-hipster comedy sparkles with Lena Dunham–like wit, even if it lingers like a Girls episode stretched thin to make it to feature length. Appropriate Behavior relies heavily on the kind of unapologetic humor made famous by Girls, so it’s fitting that the film’s Iranian-American writer, director and actor, Desiree Akhavan, will join the show’s cast for its upcoming fourth season. Akhavan plays Shirin, a bisexual, unemployed journalism grad who, after a bitter breakup with her longtime girlfriend, proceeds to stumble into awkward sexual encounters and existential despair. The story of their relationship is intertwined with Shirin’s hectic efforts to hold a steady job—teaching a group of 5-year-old boys how to make a film—and to please her well-to-do Persian parents. Shirin’s journey doesn’t include sappy self-discoveries, but small explorations and plenty of genius humor along the way. The confidence of this film assures me that Akhavan will bring much-needed diversity to the Girls crew.