Although there is a coherent story for LOL, for whatever reason, while watching, something felt “off”. I’m not sure if it’s a translation thing going from French to English but whatever reason it results in a film featuring several melodramatic scenes which are utterly laughable rather than significantly effective. The cast isn’t too bad and that includes the much maligned Miley Cyrus and to be fair I can’t really see today’s top talented young actors being able to do much better with the material on hand.
Lionsgate | PG13 – 100 min. – $24.99 | July 31, 2012
Directed by: Lisa Azuelos
Writer(s): Lisa Azuelos & Kamir Anouz (screenplay)
Cast: Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Ashley Greene, Adam Sevani, Douglas Booth, Gina Gershon, Thomas Jane, Jay Hernandez, Fisher Stevens, Nora Dunn
Theatrical Release Date: May 4, 2012 (limited)
Features: Commentary, Featurettes
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: 28.3 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
Based on the French film of the same name, LOL was co-written and directed by Lisa Azuelos, who helmed the original, and features what seems to be the stereotypical outlook on teenagers combined with what comes across as an unrealistic relationship with their respective parents. The film also is heavy in clichés and melodrama that nearly makes the film unbearable.
The story, which seems to be a poor woman’s “My So-Called Life”, stars Miley Cyrus Lola, a well adjusted teenager who, upon the film’s opening, has her boyfriend Chad (GEORGE FINN) reveal that he hooked up with another girl while at summer camp, the once lovey-dovey couple break up and thus starts one of the many teen angst scenes interspersed throughout the film.
During the opening title sequence, we also meet Lola’s best, and generic, friends: Emily (ASHLEY HINSHAW) who has a crush on the school’s new trig teacher; Janice (LINA ESCO) who, I’m not even sure what her purpose is; cool nerd who only exist in movies Wen (ADAM SEVANI); token minority friend Lloyd (TANZ WATSON) there to provide some genuine laughs; and Kyle (DOUGLAS BOOTH) whose friendship with Lola is budding to become something more if misunderstandings don’t get in the way first…
We then meet Lola’s mother, Anne (DEMI MOORE), a divorcee who is really, really close to Lola. We first are introduced to Anne in the bathtub with her younger daughter when Lola walks in, disrobes to take a shower. The pair have a bit of a tiff about the fact Lola had a Brazilian done. I realize there are close families out there and certain lifestyles but for me it was more than just a bit odd to say the least. While Lola holds some secrets close to the vest, Anne has a few of her own. She’s seeing, i.e. sleeping with, her ex-husband (THOMAS JANE) again but also meets a new suitor with a detective named James (JAY HERNANDEZ).
We’re also introduced to the other parental units for the minor players, though their screen time will be limited and used only to provide either comedy relief, such as it is, or terribly exaggerated scenes which in themselves give plenty of laughs for the audience in just how over-the-top they are. Take for example a father, apparently single, who does not like his Kyle’s musical exploits and upon discovering the falling grades, he threatens to send him to military school and then ceremoniously smashes a guitar. So out of line and exaggerated that it’s almost comical.
The rest of the movie contains more teen angst, with some adult angst thrown in as well but despite there being a story, mainly the life and times of a teenage girl and such, as I was watching I had this nagging suspicion that there really wasn’t much actually going on, or at the very least, nothing interesting. I’m not sure if the film lacked focus or what but it really bogged things down and made a 100-minute flick feel a hell a lot longer.
In terms of the acting, I can’t place too much blame on either Miley Cyrus or Demi Moore as their characters are so poorly written I can’t imagine other actresses being able to do much better or at least hold up an otherwise dull plot. Cyrus for her part is fine I suppose though unlike some on the Net, I’ve never had a problem with her, though if you’re not a fan, this movie will hardly change your mind. Demi Moore is alright although her character isn’t defined too well and is one-dimensional.
As a side, I have to mention this movie has an interesting collection of supporting actors. You’ve for Fisher Stevens of Short Circuit fame, goddess Gina Gershon who still looks great although she’s woefully underutilized (she and Stevens play best friends to Moore), Jay Hernandez is the detective who sweeps Moore off her feet and Thomas Jane has a small role as Moore’s asshole ex. This guy was such a bad ass, what happened?
Anyway, I can’t say LOL is a particularly “bad” movie but it sure as heck not very good. The story feels disjointed even though technically speaking it’s coherent. Despite it not be very long, the movie feels like it’s over two hours. I didn’t feel the performances were too bad but if you’re not a fan of either Miley Cyrus or Demi Moore, your opinion of them isn’t going to change. For others, I found them tolerable but ultimately ineffective against a substandard script.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This Blu-ray release comes with a matted slip cover.
Feature Commentary – Co-Writer/Producer/Director Lisa Azuelos and Co-Stars Ashley Hinshaw (Emily) & Lina Esco (Janice) sit down for a cordial and somewhat informative track where the director would give some of the more technical aspects while the cast talk about working with one another.
The Cast of LOL (5:18; HD) is a short and pointless featurette where the cast comments about the story, their characters and working with one another. It’s mostly fluff and an awful amount of ass kissing.
Like Mother, Like Daughter (4:34; HD) takes a look at the bond between mother and daughter both in real life and in the movie.
Lots of Love for Lisa Azuelos (3:25; HD) is a love fest and nearly a poem addressed to writer and director Azuelos from the cast and crew intermixed with behind-the-scenes footage.
Previews – Girl in Progress, The Switch, From Prada to Nada
VIDEO – 4.5/5
LOL arrives on Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition transfer. Even though the movie is hardly impressive, the picture quality at least is brilliant. The picture itself has sharp detail levels throughout, the color array looks well balanced and the black levels are deep without taking out any of the details within the shot. Obviously given this is a Hollywood production it shouldn’t be surprising, but having a near perfect transfer is never a sure thing even with new releases.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Odd as it may seem, this came with an astounding 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track which begs the question: why? Sure, it sounds great and really comes to life whenever the “teen angst”/”teen lovey-dovey” music picks up. The dialogue levels though sound nice and clear mainly through the center channel while the front and rear speakers are used for ambient noises or the score.
OVERALL – 2.75/5
Overall, although there is a coherent story for LOL, for whatever reason, while watching, something felt “off”. I’m not sure if it’s a translation thing going from French to English but whatever reason it results in a film featuring several melodramatic scenes which are utterly laughable rather than significantly effective. The cast isn’t too bad and that includes the much maligned Miley Cyrus and to be fair I can’t really see today’s top talented young actors being able to do much better with the material on hand; this isn’t to say she’s very good but I didn’t thing she was annoying.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.