Anyone can tell you if a trailer "looks good" or not. But Drew Magary, who spent over a decade working in advertising, is here to tell you whether or not a trailer WORKS. This week's trailer? "LOL".
There's something ominous about a Miley Cyrus movie titled "LOL". You can practically picture the out-of-touch studio exec who conceived of and greenlit the idea on the spot. "We need a movie that will appeal to all those teens, with their text messages and their iPatties. I'VE GOT IT! 'LOL,' starring Hannah Montana! SHOOT IT!" Yet, despite positively oozing with Hollywood cynicism, this is a remake of a French film. Still, here at PopcornBiz, we make it our priority to give every piece of entertainment a fair shake. And so it's time to check out the "LOL" trailer and see if there's more to it than meets the eye.
Let's answer a few questions:
Does the trailer let us know what the movie's about? Vaguely. Let's start with the basics. Miley Cyrus plays a rebellious teenager named Lola, but apparently everyone calls her LOL, because kids totally do that. Why, just the other day, my friend Ralph got bestowed the nickname ROTFL! Totally natural! Anyway, LOL likes to roll her eyes and make sarcastic wisecracks (think Juno, but better looking!) and flirt with boys, but her mom (Demi Moore) is all like, "LOL! You are LOLing wayyyy too much!" And then LOL jets off to Paris, because that apparently is a good way to teach rebellious teens that they need to settle down and focus. I'm a little confused, frankly. There's a bit of teenage angst, a little bit of family drama, and not a lot tying it all together.
Do the kids in the movie Gchat and text each other? They totally do! They even provide you with handy supers of their chat messages! It's like they took the experience of sitting next to an annoying text messenger at the multiplex, and put it up on the screen! That makes sense. Cuts out the middleman. Anyway, I'm sure America's youth will be like, "OMG! LOL likes to IM! TTYL!!!" Billy Crystal thinks this stuff is real cutting edge.
Do we get all kind of fantastic romantic cliches? Do we ever! The trailer is like a giant fire hose of teenager greeting card messages: "That special age where hearts are broken..." "Time to discover what we stand for..." "It's so good to love someone so much it hurts..." "Time to break free..." They ordered every cliche off the menu.
Is there a love interest with a bad haircut? There is indeed. Can't young men in movies today have NORMAL hair? What is WRONG with this country?
Does this trailer work? No, and there are plenty of reasons why. First of all, Demi Moore. There's some kind of natural law that prevents any Demi Moore film from making a profit, even good ones like "Margin Call." Secondly, there's no definitive storyline to glean from this trailer. It's just, "Miley Cyrus learns a bunch of life lessons," which isn't enough to hold our interest. Kids aren't dumb. They want their money's worth when they go to the multiplex, which is why the likes of "MI:4" have done well. They can get inane platitudes and text messages elsewhere for cheaper. There are moments of genuine dialog here, but it's not enough to overcome all the cliches. This very much feels like an studio's cheap interpretation of teen life, without being all that accurate.