What kind of mother names her son “Eloi?” You know, after the pretty, gullible, post-humanity humans of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine”?
The sort of woman who then nicknames the kid “Lolo” and is shocked when that poor judgment pays dividends as the kid enters adulthood with a long track record of sabotaging Mom’s post-Eloi Daddy relationships, that’s who.
Julie Delpy (“Before Sunrise,” “Before Sunset,” etc.) directed, co-wrote and stars in “Lolo,” an Oedipal French farce that manages a few laughs and a lot of grimaces as it toys around with “Throw Momma’s Beaus Under the Bus.”
Violette (Delpy) is an art director for fashion shows, a somewhat hapless Paris sophisticate whose crude BFF (Karin Viard) urges her to “lower your standards” and land a man. Do it in Biarritz, where they’re having a little salon vacation. Who cares if she winds up with “a Biarritz bumpkin?”
Which she does. Jean-Rene (Dany Boon of “Micmacs”) falls for Violette, and she for him. But her seemingly independent, seemingly untalented but connected artist/son Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) isn’t having it. He rates the new fellow a “D,” the first letter in a feminine hygiene product. Lolo declares that Jean-Rene will be “gone by fall.”
And that’s what the spoiled, scheming pretty boy sets out to assure.
There’s itching powder on Jean-Rene’s clothes, and hints to Mom that maybe she needs to have him tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
There’s spiking Jean-Rene’s drink so that he’ll make a fool of himself in front of Karl Lagerfeld at Mom’s big opening.
And so on.
Antoine Lounguine plays Lolo’s plump, worshipful pal, Lulu. He’s there for Lolo to explain his schemes (in French, with English subtitles) to, and because he’s a stereotypical tech nerd — the one who’ll help Lolo sabotage Jean-Rene’s business.
That makes little sense, as Jean-Rene is an IT specialist who would never be suckered by a hacker-nerd. But never mind.
The now-middle-aged Delpy still has a hint of the coquette about her, and that pays off as she and pal Ariane (Viard) casually shock eavesdroppers in the bar or on the train with their coarse talk. She dotes on her “little boy, my little alpine bunny.” She’s blind to his schemes, and even watching “Children of the Damned” doesn’t clue her in to the menace who has moved back in under her roof to more closely supervise the sabotage.
Boon makes Jean-Rene as much of a “hick” as he can manage, but it’s a generally colorless turn. The Mother-Son combo delivers a few grins, but rarely more than a chuckle, as we watch her be the last person to figure her darling boy out.
“Lolo” is entirely too familiar, too predictable, a character study in romantic mishaps that’s far less interesting than the name Delpy cooked up for her “little alpine bunny,” a passive, pretty creature worthy of our contempt, at least as Wells envisioned him.
MPAA Rating: unrated, sexual situations, nudity
Running time: 1:37