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Featured DVD / Blu-ray Review: LOL

September 14th, 2012

LOL - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

LOL (Laughing Out Loud) is a French film that came out in 2008 in its native country and was a huge hit earning nearly four times its production budget internationally. It makes sense it would get a Hollywood remake, this time simply called LOL. LOL is co-written and directed by the same woman that co-wrote and directed the original, Lisa Azuelos, so hopefully it maintains the same quality. But if that's the case, why was it pushed back so often before being dumped in limited release with no advertising?

The Movie

Miley Cyrus stars as Lola, but her friends call her LOL. We first meet her on the first day of the new school year hanging out with her two friends, Janice and Emily. She's madly in love with Chad. Janice is in love with Lloyd. Chad and Kyle are best friends, as are Kyle and Lola. Kyle and Ashley are in love. And no one loves Wen, although Wen loves Emily, but Emily is in love with her trig teacher.

Life is perfect for Lola and Chad, until Chad admits he cheated on her during the summer break and she dumps him, which happens less than five minutes into the movie. Lola's homelife also has complications, as she's clashing with her mother, Anne. Anne thinks Lola is growing up too fast, while Lola thinks her mother treats her like a child. While recovering from her break-up with Chad, Lola starts to realize she has feelings for Kyle and those feelings are mutual. This is a more complicated relationship, as Kyle is still best friends with Chad.

There are also countless side stories, including Kyle having troubles with his father over Kyle's love of music. Anne has to juggle a new relationship with a cop and dealings with her ex-husband. But most of these have very little impact on the core plot.

My expectations for LOL were low, lets be honest. It was filmed in 2010, it had its release date pushed back about a year, and then was dumped into theaters with no support from the studio. The studio was clearly convinced it had a dud on its hands. So is the film as bad as that suggests? No. Is it good? No. The film is nothing more than a teenage soap opera. It is as simple as that. I would describe it as very similar to The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and not just in terms of the soapy plot, and the plot is extra soapy, but also because it has the same pacing as a TV show. (Except with more padding.) It feels very episodic and by the end of the movie, nothing has happened in terms of character growth. They start out irritating, a bunch of stuff happens to them, and they don't learn anything by the end. The acting is also TV quality, although I'm not sure who to blame, as the writing and the dialogue makes it hard to judge the acting. The film is just so artificial that very few actors could have risen above it.

The Extras

The extras are not bad given its situation; it is practically a direct-to-DVD release. Things start with an audio commentary track with the director, Lisa Azuelos, and two of the actors, Lina Esco and Ashley Hinshaw. The Cast of LOL is a five-minute interview featurette with the cast. Like Mother, Like Daughter is a little under five minutes and deals with real life mother-daughter relationships. And finally there is a three-minute featurette praising the director.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare. The list price is about 25% more, which isn't a bad deal, but with Amazon.com's discount, it's 50% more, which is too much to ask to pay for a film like this.

The Verdict

LOL is like two hour-long episodes of a teenage soap opera squished together and padded out to a feature-length film. I didn't hate the movie, but it is nothing more than mediocre. The DVD and Blu-ray have better extras than a lot of direct-to-DVD releases have, but that's not enough to recommend it.


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Filed under: Video Review, LOL