Lionsgate // 2012 // 100 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // August 15th, 2012
You can change your status, but not your heart. Or your career choices.
Perhaps it's safe to say that Miley Cyrus' celebrity is just slightly past its shelf life. Unless she can find a way to transition out of her status as a former child star, she will always be a House of Mouse has-been, a somewhat talented tyke who was taken from her one-hit-wonder pappy and placed in a position she was neither savvy enough, or skilled enough, to survive. Instead, she's become as disposable as the songs she's sung, a bubblegum blight with an active Twitter following that paved the way for yet another round of the always-cyclical teen idol night terrors. LOL won't change this perception. It's a sat-on-the-shelf stumble that basically does little except peak interest in the 2008 French film it is based on (read: another pointless Western remake). Sadly, original co-writer/director Lisa Azuelos is on board for this mess and not even an appearance by the aging TMZ queen Demi Moore can bolster what is basically a dull, formulaic teen "comedy."
Miley plays Lola, a high school girl who's locked into the wasteland known as the world wide web. She's constantly connected to Facebook, Foursquare, and the lot. When her mother (Moore, G.I. Jane) stumbles across her secret diary, she realizes how out of touch she is with her maturing child. Lola's love life is indeed in turmoil, her boyfriend Chad's (George Finn, 90210) admission of a fling forcing their breakup. She immediately takes up with wannabe musician Kyle (Douglas Booth, The Pillars of the Earth) but fears that he too is cheating on her. A trip to Paris changes things yet again, and when Lola's mom gets a hold on the diary anew, she is devastated by what she reads. Our heroine heads off to live with her distant dad before the mandatory last-act reconciliation between parent and child. Awwww...
LOL is awful for many reasons. It treats its characters like cogs in a quip machine, everyone speaking like they have joke writers sitting backstage, determining their dialogue. It also presents the life of the average teen as nothing more than a series of selfish explorations -- sexual, pharmaceutical, social, familial -- all of which are cured by that definitive cinematic standard: communication. All Miley and Moore have to do is powwow, turn on and up the waterworks, and lower the audience's IQ and then another angry adolescent is reduced to a prepubescent purr. Maybe this kind of material speaks to a demo devoid of anything remotely close to a clue, but for anyone who has suffered through their own rebellious teen years -- and then added a few decades of work, spouse, and support issues to their struggling shoulders -- this is all like like wrapping the Taj Mahal in tissue paper. There's no point, and it looks like crap in the end.
Even worse, nothing here helps Cyrus survive the fickle fate known as the aging of her fanbase. With new preprocessed entertainment entities consistently tossed as the disposable income of today's entitled youth, the former Hannah Montana has to hope that the faithful continue to follow her. Yes, there will always be stragglers saddling up to whatever I Heart Radio says is rad, but without any significant contingency, Ms. Miley is in deep doo-doo. LOL is so lame, however, that only the most ironic of her leftover devotees would cotton to its fetid sheepdip strategies. Even worse, Ms. Moore manages the rare feat of being both forgettable and fascinating. After a few years babysitting her now ex-boy toy, the choices for her own career renaissance have been ridiculous. While she is the only remotely likable element in this film, she's also flawed. She's like Debra Winger in Rachel Getting Married without the chutzpah to purely hate her kids.
And here's the biggest problem with LOL: it's horribly superficial. It doesn't offer anything of authentic substance aside from a nice Blu-ray image and some decent added content...and even then, the amount of "We Love Miley" malarkey will be enough to tweak your EPK gag reflex. The commentary acts like a rallying cry, while the mandatory making-of/interview fodder finds no fault in the fading girl singer. It's like reading a love letter for someone you have no affection for. Technically, the movie looks colorful and bright, the 1080p/2.40:1 image standard upscale Hollywood polish. On the sound side of things, the lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track does a nice job of expanding the atmosphere of this otherwise insular film. That especially helps when Kyle and his fellow rockers participate in the obligatory Battle of the Bands.
If you are still a member of a certain Disney dynamic and can't get enough of the pert, pole-dancing diva, you might actually enjoy LOL. For all others, it's a clear case of BAH.
Guilty -- as mixed up and muddled as your average text-obsessed 2012 teen.
Review content copyright © 2012 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13