Movie Review: LOL
Rating: PG-13 (mature thematic content involving teen sexuality, drug and alcohol use and language)
Length: 97 minutes
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Directed by: Lisa Azuelos
Stars: 1 out of 5
Miley Cyrus has become more than just a singer with box-office winners like "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and "The Last Song." She tried to continue her streak with the romantic comedy "LOL."
Lola (Cyrus) is the typical American high school student living in a world surrounded by technology. People are connected on computers, cell phones and tablets, and her world is broadcast on Facebook and YouTube as Lola tries to recover from a recent breakup and navigate a potentially budding new relationship. Her mother Anne (Demi Moore) reads Lola's journal and realizes that while everyone is connected, those connections are not always as strong as they seem.
Cyrus does a good job with the emotional range needed for the movie. Lola is a troubled teen and very different from the bubblegum life of Hannah Montana.
At its heart, "LOL" is a coming-of-age story strongly influenced by the idea that being electronically connected does not always mean being emotionally connected. The movie explores that gap between parents who grew up with real-world personal interactions and teens who deal primarily through technological interactions. This gap also provides for much of the humor in the movie.
Connections are a theme for all characters in this movie. Lola is dealing with her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and finds herself falling for his best friend. The connection between the teens is frantic, and Lola helps understand it all through her various social media profiles. Lola has a difficult time navigating her life despite this constant electronic connection, and that is because she misses the actual emotional and physical connections.
While Miley Cyrus is definitely the star, Moore particularly shines as Lola's divorcee mother who is having an on-again, off-again affair with Lola's father. Moore is known for her sexuality and passionate roles, but this time, she sloughs off those more notable roles to play an overwhelmed single mother who is unsure of how to raise her daughter.
She has a difficult time with being both her daughter's friend and mother. Anne does not know when to be lenient and when to put her foot down. Therefore, she is especially torn when she reads her daughter's journal and realizes she does not know her that well at all. Any mothers watching the movie will be able to identify with Anne and the difficulties she faces raising a teenager during a technological revolution.
The movie has an impressive all-star cast, including Ashley Greene of "Twilight" fame, Thomas Jane, Gina Gershon and Fisher Stevens. They add a maturity to the movie that allows it to transcend its teenybopper roots to make it a film that all ages would enjoy.
Many films like "LOL" could get caught up in the melodrama or focus too much on the teen element instead of crafting a well-rounded movie, but not this one. Both sets of cast-older and younger-have great moments of comedy and poignant moments of drama. Perhaps "LOL" writers got the formula right because it was based on 2008 a French film of the same name.
Director Lisa Azuelos also helmed the French film, so she was no stranger to the subject matter and did a superb job transitioning from French to English. Both movies are slice-of-life tales of adults and teenagers, all seen through the eyes ... and camera ... of Lola.
It still has plenty to offer the teen generation as well. The camerawork and pacing reminds of Britney Spears' movie "Crossroads." "LOL" begins with Lola walking in slow motion with her arms around her friends while talking about high school life. She does the typical things that a heartbroken teenager would do, such as drawing hearts on bathroom doors and partying too hard.
The movie also relies heavily on technology, which may take some adults a few minutes to get used too. There are plenty of iPhone texts and online chats via MacBook that help develop the relationship between Lola and her friends. All these are secondary to the surprisingly powerful scenes between Lola and Anne.
Their relationship is definitely the anchor for the movie. Despite the technology that keeps people connected and in touch, the strongest bonds are always between family and not hardware. The duo start out estranged and nearly alien to each other, and, through a mix of technology and personal interaction, learn more about each other than ever before.
While "LOL" does not break any molds and follows the coming-of-age formula to the letter, that does not mean it isn't a movie worth seeing. You will be surprised exactly how easy it is to laugh and cry.