A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LOL stars Miley Cyrus in the American adaptation of a popular French coming-of-age drama that tackles mature topics including teen sexuality, drug experimentation, divorce, and parent-child relationships. Younger fans of Cyrus' Disney series Hannah Montana might be curious to see her first role since The Last Song, but be warned that the adolescent themes are really heavy handed. While not raunchy like an American Pie-type comedy, much is made of losing virginity, hooking up, sexting, and even trying to seduce a hot teacher. And it's not just teens having sex and doing drugs (marijuana) and drinking -- the adults do it, too. Language is common but not constant ("s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," etc.), and the visible products are mostly technology-related (MacBooks, Facebook, smartphones).
What's the story?
LOL is the story of Lola (Miley Cyrus), a Chicago teen navigating the daily dramas of high school. Lola, who goes by Lol, has just called it quits with her cheating ex but quickly begins to question whether her feelings for male best friend Kyle (Douglas Booth) are more than platonic. Meanwhile, Lola's mother, Anne (Demi Moore), deals with her increasingly distant and defiant teen, as well as two younger kids, her complicated relationship with ex-husband (Thomas Jane), and the attention of a handsome younger police detective (Jay Hernandez).
Is it any good?
French writer-director Lisa Azuelos has adapted her 2008 coming-of-age drama LOL: Laughing out Loud for American audiences, but something must have been lost in the translation. While there are still some French elements (the casual attitude about family members bathing in front of each other, adults who routinely smoke marijuana at dinner parties, and even a spring break trip to Paris), the social media-laden plot (texts and status updates pop up on the screen) seems more like a Lifetime cautionary tale for parents than a compelling teen drama worth renting.
Although the cast is promising at first, Cyrus proves not only utterly devoid of charm but also incapable of toning down the overacting she learned on the Disney Channel. The supporting players -- who occasionally, like Fisher Stevens and Gina Gershon as Anne's married best friends, provide well-acted relief from the melodrama -- can't save this oddly paced and over-the-top soap from its main problem: an unlikable protagonist who's too selfish to see beyond her own OMG! troubles. And while it's expected for teens to be self-absorbed (on or off camera), LOL is nowhere near as funny as the title suggests.
Talk to your kids about ...
Is the movie's mother-daughter relationship believable? Is it a good example of how teens and parents should communicate about tough issues?
Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- In theaters: May 4, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: July 31, 2012
- Cast: Ashley Greene, Demi Moore, Miley Cyrus
- Director: Lisa Azuelos
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: High School
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic content involving teen sexuality and drug and alcohol use, and for language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.