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Lolo (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 16



LOLO (2016)

Starring Dany Boon, Julie Delpy, Vincent Lacoste, Karin Viard, Antoine Lounguine, Christophe Vandevelde, Elise Larnicol, Christophe Canard, Nicolas Wanczycki, Rudy Milstein, Didier Duverger, Xavier Alcan, Fabienne Galula, Juliette Lamet, René-Alban Fleury, Alexandra Oppo, Jessica Cressy, Bertrand Burgalat, Frédéric Beigbeder and Karl Lagerfeld.

Screenplay by Julie Delpy and Eugénie Grandval.

Directed by Julie Delpy.

Distributed by Film Rise.  100 minutes.  Not Rated.

There is a long history in French films of wild, broad comic farces, crazed explorations of human foibles and frailties delivered with a saucy wink.

French actress and writer/director Julie Delpy, while an extremely funny writer and actress who has become almost as well-known in the States (for films like the Before Sunset series, The Hoax, Broken Flowers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) as her native France, is not necessarily known for this kind of broad humor.  Her jokes – as shown in films like Before Sunset and 2 Days in Paris – tend to be more pointed, edgier, more indie friendly.

“I really wanted a broad farce,” Delpy told me in a recent interview.  “That’s what I was going for.  The film did really well in France, so I’m happy that’s what I did.  Very happy I did that, because I had never really done it….  Visually I tricked people into watching a film that’s pretty and glossy and everything is shiny and colorful….  Yet, the content of it is a little darker than the usual broad mainstream comedy.  It’s a mix of both.”

You know this is going to be a bit of a different film for Delpy from the animated opening credits, which play over a wonderfully kitschy Andy Williams version of 60s swinger “Music To Watch Girls By.”

Delpy plays Violette, a hip and neurotic Paris-based PR woman in the fashion industry.  While on vacation in Biarritz with her cynical, free-spirited best friend Ariane (Karin Viard), Violette meets Jean-Rene (played by popular French comedian Dany Boon) a local “hick” who knows Ariane (talk about an odd meet cute – he literally drops a big fish on her).  It’s dislike at first sight, but Ariane talks her into having a little no-strings vacation affair.

Violette figures that will be all their little fling is, but it turns out that they have real strong sexual chemistry.  Even though she thinks he’s a little funny looking and a bit of a rube, that connection, plus his unforced sweetness, gets her to thinking more seriously about the guy.  Then when it turns out that he is being transferred to Paris for his computer job, she finds herself genuinely excited by the idea of him being around.

Of course, back home things are different.  Real life abounds.  And the biggest threat to their burgeoning relationship is Lolo (Vincent Lacoste of Hippocrates), her 20-ish grown son who decides that Jean-Rene is not worthy of his mother.

Children of divorce often resist new men in their mother’s life, but Lolo takes it to a whole new level.  He starts out just subtly sabotaging the man, but quickly ramps up the antagonistic campaign, putting together a series of plans to destroy the man’s profession, his reputation, his health, and his relationship.

Jean-Rene, being a good-hearted sort, tries to build bridges with Lolo.  By the time he figures out the extent the kid is willing to go to ruin him, he has been nearly completely ruined.  The crazier the stories are, the more Violette refuses to believe that Lolo could be responsible for such acts.

Delpy told me in our interview that while she was writing Lolo, she kept thinking of the old 50s Patty McCormack thriller The Bad Seed, about a family who did not realize that their adorable little girl is a budding sociopath.  It’s an interesting idea for a comedy – Robin Williams’ World’s Greatest Dad also successfully trod on similar thematic turf, though that film was more blatantly dark.

Some of the later scenes of Lolo feel a bit over the top, but that is really the point of a farce.  Delpy’s sharp writing and always improving directorial skills save it from going too far though.  Also, an extremely strong Gallic cast – Boon and Lacoste are very funny in their roles and Viard steals almost every scene she is in – makes Lolo a very fun, if slightly inessential, romp.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2016 All rights reserved. Posted: March 11, 2016.


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