Losing Control

In the ostensibly charming, actually grating Losing Control, Harvard biophysics grad student Samantha (Miranda Kent) toils away in the lab—after early success, she's struggling to reproduce results—while trying to find a mate more suitable than longtime boyfriend Ben (Reid Scott). After his unexpected marriage proposal is rejected, model citizen Ben accepts a fellowship to study in China, and type A Sam works to ensure life hews more closely to her plan, mocking up a chart on which she can "empirically" rank the attributes of potential suitors. Misadventures are in store: Her work—which, adorably, involves expressing a protein that kills Y-chromosome-carrying sperm—makes for complicated small talk, and she's constantly having to check her samples at inconvenient times. The sitcom hyper-reality liberates first-time writer/director Valerie Weiss to amp up the lame ethnic ribbing (Sam has fretful Jewish parents and an impossible-to-understand, probably incompetent Chinese colleague) and the plucky raunch. After a few misfires—a tantric-sex coach manages to ejaculate right into a test tube, but isn't a great date—Sam homes in on a Euro performance artist (Theo Alexander) with an exhibitionist streak. The blue rom-com then takes a frenzied late turn into espionage territory, an attempt to gather momentum that only makes the film more tiresome.

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