‘Playlist’ Review: A Broken Record of Trials

Taking cues from shambolic big-city indies like “Frances Ha,” “Playlist,” the debut feature by the French graphic novelist and illustrator Nine Antico, is a brisk comedy about a chaotic woman in her late twenties who can’t seem to catch a break.

Oddly enough, it is the second French import of 2022 to capture the love lives of young Parisians using a monochrome palette. Jacques Audiard’s tripartite romance, “Paris, 13th District” was released in April, and it, too, draws from the world of animation — the film was based on stories by the cartoonist Adrian Tomine.

“Playlist,” instead, takes a mocking look at France’s comic book industry. Sophie (a charismatic Sara Forestier) is a wannabe cartoonist who lands a secretarial gig at an elite publishing firm run by self-proclaimed jerk Jean-Luc (Grégoire Colin). It’s better than her job as a waitress — no more dealing with the flaky cook, her sometimes-boyfriend — but the opportunity doesn’t exactly put her art on the map.

With each new man Sophie encounters, a scribbled text appears with his name. It’s an annoyingly quirky indicator of the connection between her lovelorn fixations and her creative processes.

A music lover (the corny-yearning soundtrack is heavy on American folk musician Daniel Johnston), Sophie also deals with an abortion, a bed bug infestation, an intimidating roommate and a hematoma that stops a hookup dead in its tracks.

The film’s adrift-and-artsy-girl hangups don’t make for a terribly original premise, but the script by Antico (with the collaboration of Marc Syrigas) is peppered with amusing zingers and absurd, yet relatable situations. (“I take my pasta seriously,” exclaims Jean-Luc when Sophie procures the wrong brand of Parmesan.) There are no particularly moving insights, and it falls short of a proper character study, but “Playlist” does intrigue with its droll individual parts — if not the sum of them.

Not rated. In French, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 24 minutes. In theaters.