Rating: Not Rated
Length: 81 minutes
Director: Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs; Kissing on the Mouth)
Writers: Joe Swanberg (Hannah Takes the Stairs; Kissing on the Mouth), Kevin Bewersdorf (Hannah Takes the Stairs), and C. Mason Wells
Starring: Joe Swanberg, Kevin Bewersdorf, Tipper Newton, Greta Gerwig, C. Mason Wells, Brigid Reagan, Kate Winterich, Laura Lippert, Andrew Bujalski
What a difference a year makes. After watching and giving a very favorable review to 2007’s excellent mumblecore comedy “Hannah Takes the Stairs”, I became interested in writer/director Joe Swanberg’s prior films. “LOL” was his second film following “Kissing on the Mouth” (which I am searching for). Coming out just one year before “Hannah”, “LOL” is dreary and unfocused. While the characters in “Hannah” seemed realistic and fully developed, the characters in “LOL” seem like, well, low budget indie movie characters. Some of the scenes show Swanberg’s future promise. There are a few relationship arguments that ring true (like the phone sex one), but overall the movie suffers from not giving us likable characters to care about and more importantly situations that we should care about. The majority of the film centers around three male characters and their obsession with their computers. Alex (played by co-writer and musician Kevin Bewersdorf) is a one man band who becomes infatuated with a webcam girl (Kate Winterich) that is clearly not into him. Tim (Swanberg) chooses to play on his computer over giving attention to his girlfriend (Brigid Reagan). At one point, he asks her to postpone sex for twenty minutes so he can finish up some “work” on his laptop. Chris (co-writer C. Mason Wells) is carrying on a dying long distance relationship with Greta (“Hannah”’s leading lady Greta Gerwig- seen far too little here). He requests nude photos and gets shots of her looking so miserable that he can’t get turned on by them. Swanberg shows he has better success with female characters (which is part of what made “Hannah” so wonderful) with the most interesting character in the movie here- a cute girl named Walter (Tipper Newton) who has an obvious crush on Alex that he ignores rather rudely. Newton is so engaging that I wish the entire movie would have been centered around her. Instead we get way too much screen time focusing on a video the guys are putting together that collects random people making random sounds. I could make a lame joke involving the title and not laughing out loud, but I’ll do us both a favor and just recommend “Hannah Takes the Stairs” again instead.