In 2010 the film LOL was complete and ready for release, yet it only made its way to a theatrical audience (barely) earlier this year. The combined star power of Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus just wasn’t enough to market this technology savvy teenage coming-of-age story. But after the dust has settled and everyone has moved on LOL manages to almost become a romance worth watching, even if only once. It’s not well-written or well-acted, but it does speak for the current generation of teens, which might be a little scary for everyone else.
It’s a new school year for Lola (Miley Cyrus) and friends, which means new relationships with new boys. She’s had her heart broken by one friend, but soon realizes his best friend just might be the answer to her love life depression. All of this happens very fast as Lola picks up a boy one night and drops him the next, while pit stopping to update her best friend and her overprotective mother (Demi Moore).
Lola’s life is documented over the next few months as she experiences life on a tiny scale and slowly starts to understand and appreciate the meaning of relationships with others. LOL might not be a worthy entry in the popular coming-of-age genre, but it fits in more often than not.
There’s a general layer of realism between the interactions of Lola and her friends/family. It’s almost depressing, because it sheds light on some of the major concerns with teens these days (I’m really starting to sound old), but it still feels real. The constant change of mood and obsession with texting, emailing and instant messaging can be annoying for most, but comes with the territory for most growing teens and LOL does its best to display that without showing much judgment.
Lisa Azuelos’ direction remains grounded in that teenage mindset. There’s lots of pointless dialogue between friends and family that occurs frequently and never seems to end, but that’s exactly what it can be like when talking to a teenager who just got over a breakup or a teenager that suddenly discovers their parents are real people too, with emotions and baggage just like the rest of us. Azuelos does a good job keeping the camera busy during these constant revelations. She rarely goes for the obvious shot and instead keeps things looking like a cross between an independent romantic comedy and a big budget studio comedy.
Miley Cyrus is still no actress, but she shows progression in LOL. Her character is naturally annoying most of the time, but occasionally a hint of humanity is revealed and Cyrus is partially to blame for making the character somewhat tolerable. It’s still a far cry from the Academy, but it’s a big step up from some of her previous films.
Thomas Jane and Demi Moore are the real anchors of the film, playing the parents of Cyrus’ character with opposite approaches. Jane is the cool father that shows up whenever his kid needs a life lesson and whenever he suddenly has an urge to reconnect with his ex-wife and Moore plays the caring mother that is described as overprotective, but really just a mom that cares about her daughter’s well-being.
LOL is almost a watchable film because of their performances, yet the familiarity of the story holds it back from becoming something special. I’m surprised by how much hate it has received so far, because the film is mostly your average teenage romance. There’s not a whole lot of surprises to be found and yet I didn’t completely mind viewing the film at least once. The film does pump up the sexual activity and in doing so makes me question what our youth is really up to these days, but I can’t say it isn’t at least being honest in the way it approaches the subject matter.
Sometimes film’s get unfairly bashed before given a proper release and they’ll forever be known as a complete waste of film. LOL doesn’t go that far, but it doesn’t do itself any favors either. It’s mostly painless considering the genre and something that teenage girls will eat up while the rest of us just kind of shrug our shoulders. I can think of fifteen other films that I thought I would enjoy that turned out to be far worse than LOL. Example 1 is Hijacked.
The 1080p Blu-Ray transfer is surprisingly strong for a forgotten film from 2010. There’s a constant glow that covers most of the facial detail, but aside from that stylistic choice I’d say LOL hits all of the right notes. Colors are mostly bright and vibrant and the various locations of the film help make the imagery something worth looking at.
Lionsgate has decided to give this dialogue-heavy film a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and I don’t blame them, because they’ve done a great job splitting up the activity among the channels. Most of the more focused activity is experienced in the front, but a lot of the fainter dialogue is given room to expand and interact on the back channels. This makes for an audio encounter that one might not expect.
Here’s a list of bonus content found on the disc:
- Director and Cast Commentary
- The Cast of LOL (HD)
- Like Mother, Like Daughter (HD)
- Lots of Love for Liza Azuelos (HD)
One might find themselves surprised with LOL and how it isn’t as bad as it looks or as bad as everyone has been saying it is. There’s nothing incredibly moving about the film or even something remotely great about it, but it actually works as its own little teenage coming-of-age story set with a technology backdrop starring the ever so popular Miley Cyrus.
Cyrus doesn’t hurt the film as much as she could have and Demi Moore and Thomas Jane almost cancel her out, leaving you with a forgettable, but not horrible teenage romance that has several minor moments of realism and heart. Those moments are mostly surrounded by teenage foolery, but they do exist within the film.
LOL won’t win a home on your shelf because of the film’s quality, but it might because of the quality of the Blu-Ray disc, which receives high marks in both the video and audio. The special features are skippable, but the commentary track does give us a better look inside the mind of director Lisa Azuelos and why she wanted to remake her own French film.
I can’t recommended the disc based on the film alone, but I can say that fans of the usual teenage comedy/romance combo will want to check this out, because it doesn’t completely follow the PG-13 friendly mold that you’d expect it to, which makes for a semi-interesting film that touches up on how our youth is starting to think these days, which can be sort of depressing and pathetic, but revealing at the same time. Watch LOL or don’t watch LOL, it doesn’t really matter at this point.