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LOL (2012)

Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/31/2012

All Ratings out of





Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/30/2012

In today’s world, we are inundated with movies. In the past, movies would play in the theater and then eventually show up on television. Today we have DVD, Blu-ray Disc, streaming, video-on-demand, and oh yeah, movies still play in the theater. Given this, and the fact that dozens of new movies hit home video every week, choosing what to watch is more difficult than ever and because of this, we must pre-judge movies based on the title, the actors, the director, even the cover art. This sounds harsh, but we all do it. Let me give you an example: What if I told you that there was a movie starring Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore? Would you want to see that movie? That’s the question which we’ll explore in this review for LOL.

Cyrus stars in LOL as Lola (who’s friends call her “Lol”…except I don’t remember that happening much in the movie.), a precocious teenaged girl. Lola lives with her mother, Anne (Demi Moore), and the two have a tumultuous relationship, as Lola has reached an age where she wants more personal freedom. Meanwhile, Anne has begun to see her ex-husband (Thomas Jane) again, and this confuses Lola. Lola is having relationship problems of her own. She has recently broken up with Chad (George Finn) and he’s been acting like a real jerk towards her. Luckily, Lola can lean on Kyle (Douglas Booth), her lifelong friend. Lola also spends a lot of time with Emily (Ashley Hinshaw), who has a crush on their math teacher. With all that’s happening around her, Lola becomes pre-occupied with thoughts of sex and her grades begin to slip. As a class trip to France looms, Lola and Anne clash, and Anne wonders if she can trust the girl.

LOL is a remake of a 2008 French film of the same name. (Well, actually, that movie is called LOL (Laughing Out Loud) ®. The “® ” is theirs, not mine.) Both films were written and directed by Lisa Azuelos. She apparently has strong opinions about female relationships, as LOL explores the connections not only between mothers and daughters, but female friends as well. We watch Lola and Anne struggle for power in the household, when they are actually leading parallel lives. At school, Lola must find a balance between being a good girl and dealing with confident, aggressive girls like Ashley (Ashley Greene). The movie wants to be a serious look at how parents and children collide and how love and compromise must rule the day. And I want to be a millionaire.

The film’s opening reminded me a lot of Clueless. Later on in the film, we get the French version of the song “Alright” by Supergrass, a song which is prominently featured in Clueless. A coincidence? No, I don’t think so. LOL features some of the same ideas as that now semi-classic 90’s movie -- high school relationships, proving one’s self to their parents, parties, etc. The difference is that Clueless was primarily a comedy and it was well aware of that fact. LOL doesn’t know what it wants to be, which is surprising, as Azuelos is making the movie for a second time. The film vacillates from being about teenage romance and then back to a “parents just don’t understand” movie and it rarely gels.

However, the real problem with LOL is that it doesn’t have anything new to say. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising given the fact that this is a remake, but even for a remake, the movie is sorely lacking in original ideas. I have not seen the original film, but I have seen the trailer for it (I love VUDU!), and LOL appears to be a shot-for-shot remake. The high-school scenes are very cliched, as they feature the standard kids who go to school, but don’t appear to do anything at school. (And then they seem surprised when their parents yell at them about their grades.) The scenes between Lola and Anne are meant to me tense and emotional, but they come off as very flat. Overall, the movie has little impact.

So, here’s some things I learned from LOL. This first one won’t be much of a newsflash: Miley Cyrus isn’t much of an actress. She’s OK in the scenes where she needs to be perky, but any time any real emotion is needed and she called upon to do more than smile, things don’t go so well. And as she’s the focus of the film, this means that things fall apart quite often. The other thing that I’ve learned is the next time a movie opens with a girl introducing a male character as her best friend to whom she’s not attracted, I’m turning said movie off, as I know how it’s going to end.

LOL wastes a pretty good cast which also includes Marlo Thomas on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no distracting grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, as the film is filled with both dark tones and brighter colors, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good as we can make out textures on surfaces and the depth works well here. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. There are a few scenes which take place at a nightclub, and the audio really comes to life here, as the crowd noise fills the rear speakers and the music provides a nice thump for which the subwoofer to work. The stereo effects are nicely done as well, as several scenes contain instances where noises are coming from off-screen.

The LOL Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Lisa Azuelos and actors Ashley Hinshaw and Lina Esco. "The Cast of LOL" (5 minutes) contains comments from the actors who talk about their characters and their experiences on the movie. (And of course, they have to talk about what it was like to work with Miley.) Azuelos and the cast talk about the child-parent relationships portrayed in the film and their own experiences in "Like Mother, Like Daughter" (5 minutes). "Lots of Love for Lisa Azuelos" (3 minutes) has the actors sharing their feelings about working with the director.

Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long