For the record, I would like to state that I suffer no delusions about Miley Cyrus’s acting abilities, but I will say this — I loved this kid on Hannah Montana and this alone was enough reason for me to check out her latest offering, a coming of age teen/family drama, LOL.
LOL is a remake of the French film of the same name which was released in 2008. The film was apparently a big hit in international film festivals where it was entered, garnering accolades for the performances of Sophie Marceau and Christa Theret, whose roles were taken on by Cyrus and Demi Moore in the US version. Unfortunately, the Hollywood version was only released in over a hundred theaters in the US and several other countries with no strong marketing effort, sealing its fate with less than a $14 million box office take internationally. It also did not help that it was only rated 20 percent fresh by http://www.rottentomatoes and was widely bashed by critics from all over.
The story is told from the perspective of Lola (Cyrus), who is called Lol by her friends for short. Like any other teen, Lola is caught up with all the high school drama with friends, drugs and love and gets her first dose of heartbreak when her boyfriend Chad casually informs her that he has hooked up with someone else. Mortified, Lola tells him that she too has hooked up with someone else, and tries to get by with the support of her friends Emily and Janice, as well as Kyle, a struggling musician whose conservative father is keeping him from pursuing his dream of becoming a recording artist. As Kyle and Lola begin to make a romantic connection, misunderstandings ensue, making it seem like transitioning from friendship to love is impossible.
I must say that I partially agree with the critics. The story was not bad per se, but it felt like it wasn’t original, or deep enough to sink one’s teeth into (It was obvious though, that director/screenwriter Lisa Azuelos wanted it to be so much more). It did not help that the execution seemed a bit rushed, the set up of the relationship between Lola and Chad, as well as their group of friends, including the break up was done well within the first 13 minutes of the film as if the filmmakers wanted to move the story along faster because they wanted to focus on the meatier aspects of the film. Unfortunately, there was none. As a result, the rest felt like a blur of hugging, door slamming, hugging, kissing, hugging again, and chatting online. Yes, there was a lot of hugging in this movie. I still don’t get why everybody felt compelled to hug everyone else even when they were mad at each other.
For sure, Miley will not win any acting awards for this movie but her shining moments were always her scenes with her family. She seemed quite comfortable interacting with Demi Moore, who played her mother and her reactions was pretty much natural for teenagers her own age. There are also a lot of cute guys in the cast, cute guys who sing! So I am officially a fan of Douglas Booth who played Kyle after this movie.
What I loved about this film, and perhaps, its saving grace was the soundtrack. It kind of had an indie feel to it that gave the movie the edge that I guess it was gunning for and as always, the scoring contributes to the general tone of the movie. In this regard, the score passes with flying colors.
While LOL was lacking in a lot of departments, I could still say that it was a passable teen movie, not a nightmare that some would suggest, its not dealing with rocket science after all. But if one don’t like the film’s lead stars, then that enough is a strong deterrent to one’s enjoyment of this movie. That, and the fact that it would always be compared to the original, which, if reviews would serve as the basis, was miles ahead of its remake. Sometimes, good movies should just be left well enough alone. As the saying goes, why fix what isn’t broken?