On vacation in the south of France, 40-something divorcee Violette (Julie Delpy) isn’t particularly looking for long-term love so much as she wants a romp in the bedroom. She’s encouraged by her best friend (Karen Viard), who is all for this plan. The two openly exchange lewd conversation about sex in such a way that its hard not to chuckle at their comedic give-and-take. Enter Jean-René (Dany Boon)–a somewhat naive, but utterly sweet man who is also divorced. There are immediate flirtations between the two. What Violette swore to her friend was just some sexual fun turns into a serious relationship.
Returning to her life in Paris, Violette is pleased that she and Jean-René can resume their relationship (he’s just moved to Paris from the countryside for a new job. But now Jean has to contend with the another man in her life: Violetter’s son, Eloi (Vincent Lacoste), otherwise known as Lolo. What Jean-René doesn’t realize at first is that Lolo is a menace. He’s a pretentious 20-year-old artist who is hellbent on sabotaging his mother’s relationship no matter what extremes he has to go to.
“Lolo” is a romantic comedy at first and, while it maintains some of the genre’s aspects throughout the film, the story turns into more of a domestic dispute that one would normally see on sitcoms or in films from the ’90s. The relationship Lolo and Violette share can only be defined by co-dependence. He’s the eternal mama’s boy and Violette showers him with affection and unbridled support and enthusiasm. He’s the perfect child in her eyes that every parent thinks they’ve given birth to. But the relationship is beyond just co-dependent, and just watching Lolo stroke the hard-boiled eggs his mother makes him, you’re caught between chuckling at his antics to being disturbed by the issues coloring his actions.
The more Lolo tries to ruin the relationship and make Jean-René look bad, the stronger their romance becomes. While the film isn’t original, it does feel fresh in certain instances, like the fact that all the smut talk happens between Delpy and Viard, which make for some of the best scenes in the film. Delpy’s Violette is snobbish and becomes increasingly impatient with Boon’s simplistic and all-too-trusting personality. They don’t particularly match, but it’s entertaining to watch their differences. The underlying tension in this strange and perturbing love triangle eventually snaps, but the prolonged antics by that point aren’t as funny. And once the film finally heads into its finale, the full realization that Lolo needs psychiatric help isn’t so much funny as it is kind of creepy.
Delpy knows exactly where she wants to take “Lolo” and so the film remains predictable, but entertaining on the whole. It takes a downward slide after the first half because the comedic farce goes on for too long, with work disasters and spiked champagne antics coming quicker and becoming tiresome. The film’s intention is to be ludicrous and outrageous, taking from similar domestic comedies and sitcoms. It works just enough to keep you entertained, but by the end has you question “Lolo’s” underdeveloped conclusion.
The film's intention is to be ludicrous and outrageous, taking from similar domestic comedies of the past, and it works just enough to keep you entertained, but by the end has you question "Lolo's" underdeveloped conclusion.