Sundance Premieres 2012: Girls (and robots -- and goats) just wanna have fun

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Image Credit: Nicole Rivelli

Though Sundance tends to be stereotyped as the place for heavy, dour stories of shattered lives, it’s actually a great place for comedies. Think Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine, The Kids Are All Right, and last year ‘s Our Idiot Brother and Cedar Rapids.

This year the non-competition premieres section is heavy with comedies, most of them fueled by women, among them Kirsten Dunst, Rashida Jones, Julie Delpy, Rebecca Hall, Ari Graynor and Parker Posey.

“There are lots of big female-driven comedies of different sorts. Everything from Julie Delpy’s 2 Days in New York, to [Dunst’s] Bachelorette and [Graynor’s] For a Good Time Call,” says Sundance director John Cooper. “You don’t always get that every year.” (Full disclosure: Entertainment Weekly is a sponsor of the Sundance festival’s premieres section.)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his hitRECord.org crowd-sourced movie studio will return to the festival on Jan. 26 with a special event, and another very notable presence in the festival is Spike Lee, who is bringing his coming-of-age drama Red Hook Summer, a sort-of sequel to his Do The Right Thing.

Read on for more details of the line-up…

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Image Credit: Julien Hekimian/WireImage.com

2 Days in New York:

Delpy stars as Marion, a single mom whose mixed-race relationship with new boyfriend (Chris Rock) is causing chaos as her family visits her in New York just as her upcoming photo exhibition is happening.

(Co-stars: Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, Alex Nahon. Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau)

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Image Credit: Bobby Bank/Wire Image

Arbitrage:

Ripped straight from the ongoing rage toward Wall Street, Richard Gere stars as a hedge-fund manager who has built his empire on fraud and is desperate to sell before it’s uncovered. Meanwhile, his personal life is also collapsing around him.

(Co-stars: Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Brit Marling, Laetitia Casta. Director and screenwriter: Nicholas Jarecki)

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Image Credit: Doug Meszler/Splash News

Bachelorette:

Four old high school friends unearth old rivalries and bitterness when the least popular of the bunch gets engaged to one of New York City’s wealthiest bachelors — and she twists the knife by asking her old frenemies to be her bridesmaids.

(Cast: Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott, Kyle Bornheimer. Director and screenwriter: Leslye Headland)

California Solo:

“A former Britpop rocker has long settled for an unfettered life working on a farm outside of L.A. When he’s caught driving drunk and faces deportation, he must confront past and current demons in his life to stay in the country,” according to the Sundance synopsis.

(Cast: Robert Carlyle, Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Danny Masterson. Director and screenwriter: Marshall Lewy)

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Celeste and Jesse Forever:

Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones (who co-wrote) and SNL’s Andy Samberg star as the title characters, who married soon after high school and, now in their early 30s, decide it’s time to break up and see other people. But, you know… they hope they can still be friends. That always works out just fine, right? “It’s a romantic comedy with a quirky element to it,” Cooper says. “If you know Rashida Jones’ work, it’s very her.”

(Co-starring: Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts. Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack)

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Image Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

For A Good Time, Call… :

Ari Graynor (pictured) and Lauren Anne Miller play two women who move in together after one of them has a break-up and the other loses her rent-controlled home. To make money, they decide to open a phone-sex line. Of course they do.

(Co-stars: Justin Long, Mark Webber, James Wolk. Director: Jamie Travis, Screenwriters: Katie Anne Naylon and Miller)

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Image Credit: Brian Ach/WireImage.com

Goats:

An oddball coming-of-age story about a teenage boy (Graham Phillips) who leaves behind his carefree mom (Vera Farmiga) and a best-friend goat-herder (David Duchovny) — I’m not making this up — to attend a prep school where he reconnects with his estranged father (Modern Family’s pater familias Ty Burrell). Based on the cast alone, this is intriguing. Plus, hey – goats!

(Director: Christopher Neil, Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier, based on his own novel)

NEXT: Bruce Willis gets ‘geeky’

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