Damsels in Distress

Rated 3.0

Three coeds at a mid-level Ivy League college (Greta Gerwig, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore) spend their days running a suicide prevention center with a program of tap-dance therapy, and their nights dating their “intellectual inferiors” as an act of mercy. Writer-director Whit Stillman takes his time between movies—this is his first in 13 years, and only his fourth overall—but his wry smarty-pants wit always makes them seem worth the wait. The movie has a paradoxical aura of weighty triviality, and it takes place in a sort of vacuum—no iPhones, computers or Facebook—not unlike the vacuums in the three young ladies’ heads. Gerwig’s straight-faced earnestness is, in its diffident way, hilarious, and Stillman ices this airy pastry with an endearingly awkward musical number to wrap things up.