Revisiting The Rotten: “LOL”


Parents are constantly trying to monitor their childrens’ media, complaining that this or that film is too violent or too sexual. Adults have rallied around the common enemy of Hollywood over time to prevent their kids from growing up by obscuring the harsh realities of life, love, sex and violence. Some of these media crusades have been in protest of the most ridiculous things. (For God’s sake, does anybody else remember Falwell’s crusade against the gay agenda on Teletubbies?) And yet, for some reason, there remains a great blonde menace that nobody seems to be talking about. I am, of course, referring to the pop culture problem of Miley Cyrus. Once relegated to the realms of radio and music, Ms. Cyrus has officially declared war as she is now invading homes with the cinematic atrocity that is LOL.

For those of you that don’t know, LOL (which received a nearly nonexistent theatrical run earlier this summer) follows Lola, who goes by Lol for short (See what they did there? That’s just a glimpse of the witticisms that this film has to offer), because evidently a four-letter name just isn’t short enough. The film follows her as she gets dumped for not having sex, but then she has sex and life is good again. Okay, there may have been some subtleties to the film that I’m missing, but I’m pretty sure that’s all that happened…Oh yeah, and Demi Moore reads her diary or something.

It isn’t the fact that nothing happens in LOL that makes the film so terrible. Boredom is something I can forgive. It’s that the film tries so desperately to connect to its teenage audience, to no avail. I haven’t been a teen for several years now, but honestly, if I’d been a teen like any one of the stock characters LOL provides its audience with, I likely wouldn’t have made it to college. I’m pretty sure somebody would have kicked my ass beyond recognition if I bitched about how my super-hot mom was dating a crazy-hot cop. Honestly, all of the “problems” in Lola’s life are things that, well, aren’t really problems. Sure, your parents getting divorced is tough, but it’s not easy for any kid. LOL doesn’t even touch divorce, but it does cover how to react to finding out your divorced parents are bumping uglies. The trick is to act like a total bitch, or at least that’s how Miley does it in the movie.

Between her complaining about her bourgeois lifestyle and moaning about how a high school relationship didn’t work out (that’s a shocker for ya), it’s hard to feel much pity for Lola or any of the other characters. But LOL’s worst qualities aren’t even its lackluster characters that are drawn with about as much depth as the shallow end of a kiddie pool. Any attempts to flesh them out further just results in the audience seeing a side of them that, well, I know that I’d personally rather not see. To give you a hint, I’m referring to a scene in which mother and daughter discuss vaginal grooming habits. Yes, it is absolutely as uncomfortable as it sounds, perhaps even more so.

It would be easy to dismiss LOL as a poorly orchestrated character study, but director Lisa Azuelos insists on doing more damage to her American adaptation of her original French film. The French version was released back in 2009, which may not sound like a long time, but in the language of the internet, it might as well have been decades. Unfortunately, LOL still utilizes a lot of the trends and slang that would have been popular in 2009, but feel more like linguistic relics these days. It isn’t just that the language is outdated and awkward, though. It’s more about the implication. Azuelos writes like a middle-aged divorcee desperately trying to reconnect with her teenage kids. Her attempts to sound “hip” and “cool” are as cringe-worthy as Cyrus’s oddly disproportionate gums.

Truth be told, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s wrong with a film like LOL. In the end, it’s best just not to point out the cracks. After all, I only have about 800 words for each column. In the end, I can only hope that somebody takes something away from this moviegoing experience, like “Don’t give Miley Cyrus movie roles” or “Stop using Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ in love scenes, it’s 2012.” I really would be fine with either of these lessons, but then you’d have to watch the movie to learn them. Maybe it’s just best to stay ignorant.

  • Swimming3

    The movie was filmed in 2010, just FYI