Director: Lisa Azuelos (LOL, Hey Good Looking!)
Screenplay: Lisa Azuelos, Kamir Aïnouz
Producers: Tish Cyrus, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
Starring: Miley Cyrus, Demi Moore, Ashley Hinshaw, Ashley Greene, Thomas Jane, Jay Hernandez, Douglas Booth
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 97 min.
One can only assume that the poor reception of Lisa Azuelos’ LOL has more to do with the viewing public’s dislike of Miley Cyrus than with the movie itself. Don’t get me wrong, LOL isn’t some masterpiece relationship movie for the connected generation but it’s also not deserving of IMDb’s bottom 100 ranking, regardless of how annoying Cyrus Jr. is. It certainly doesn’t help matters any that Azuelos’ first go at this story, a French film sharing the same title, was much more well received.
The film’s title is supposed to be a play on words, part of it a nod to the movie’s relentless, largely uninspired, use of social media and text messaging to develop and tell some of the story, and part a play on the name of the Lola (Cyrus) the movie’s main character who happily explains in the opening few minutes that “My friends call me Lol.” Except for the fact that they don’t. Immediately after her declaration someone calls out to “Lol” but from thereon in, no one refers to her by the moronic nickname.
Lola’s coming of age story is paralleled with her mother’s – Anne (Demi Moore), a divorcee who is getting back into the dating scene by re-igniting her relationship with her ex-husband. Lola’s teen romance comes to an end just as the school year starts and she finds herself falling for her best friend Kyle, while navigating the ups and downs of highschool. Though considering everyone lives in pretty homes and drive expensive cars, there’s very little to dramatize beyond teen and maternal angst.
The story is familiar as are the characters, including the bitchy “post it” Ashley, a hot mean girl who makes all the other girls insecure. Cyrus has exactly one look: pouty. Even when she’s happy she looks pouty and sadly, all of her energy doesn’t bring Lola to life. If anything, she’s one of the least interesting characters and is consistently overshadowed by both Ashley Green as the aforementioned mean girl and Ashley Hinshaw as Emily, Lola’s best friend. Both have minor roles in this Lola-centric dramedy but they’re both memorable. The boys are also lamely thrown in as love interests, though Kyle does get a ridiculously squeezed in family story, which Douglas Booth tries and mostly succeeds in selling.
The adults fare little better in LOL but they have much more experience in front of the camera and it shows. Moore is likeable as a mom who is trying to stay relevant, take care of her kids and juggle a relationship at the same time. The two men in her life (Thomas Jane as her ex-husband and Jay Hernandez as her new boyfriend) are given little to do but get the most out of their scenes and Anna’s friends, who appear for all of two scenes, are by far the highlight. Fisher Stevens is a shinning beckon in this medley of grey and he has all of two short scenes. More of the adult dinners would have brought the energy of this movie up a few notches.
LOL isn’t new or inspired. In the vast sea of coming of age tales, it registers extremely low on the radar; it not only fails to bring anything new, it doesn’t infuse the familiar story with anything memorable in either the character or story department; this is a largely forgettable blip.
LOL is available on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, July 31st.
DVD Extras: This release includes feature commentary with cast and director and a couple of featurettes including “Like Mother Like Daughter” and “Lots of Love for Lisa Azuelos.”
Click “play” to see the trailer: