(Julie Delpy)

Dany Boon, Julie Delpy, and Vincent Lacoste in a scene from Delpy's  Lolo  {Photo: FILMRISE}

Dany Boon, Julie Delpy, and Vincent Lacoste in a scene from Delpy's Lolo {Photo: FILMRISE}

Lolo screens on Sunday, March 13 and Thursday, March 17. For additional ticketing information, please refer to the Gene Siskel Film Center's website here

There’s something novel about what Lolo initially promises. It begins with Violette and Ariane (Julie Delpy and Karin Viard) in a pool, candidly speaking to their insecurities as women in their 40s. Delpy, as an actor, director, and writer, exhibits clear-headed ambition in her observations, constructing a world for her characters that’s not quite lonely, not quite luminous, but nevertheless in need of companionship. She meets Jean-René (Dany Boon) at a party, where their initial feeling-out acknowledges all the awkwardness associated with meeting new people – as much as dialogue fuels Jean-René and Violette’s exchange, so does their awkward, empty silences. And it’s what Delpy knows best. As was the case with 2 Days in Paris and to a lesser extent, 2 Days in New York, Delpy is most effective as a purveyor of how men and women interact with each other on a sexual level.

It’s the external, more cartoonish and chaotic elements, that Delpy hasn’t gotten a handle on. As Jean-René becomes an increasingly constant presence in Violette’s life, she introduces him to her son Lolo (Vincent Lacoste). What occurs from here is an attempt at an Oedipal comedy that’s too mean-spirited to be funny, reaching levels of We Need to Talk About Kevin psychosis. But whereas that film was entrenched in a milieu that acknowledged its characters’ sociopathic tendencies, Lolo fecklessly aims for humor. The result is reminiscent of how Delpy overexposed the paternal comedy in New York, with Lolo repeating the same tired gag at amplified degrees for the duration of the picture. Delpy is a competent filmmaker and writer, and a gifted presence on screen, but her sense of humor, her fondness for cartoonish potty humor, has been her undoing on more than one occasion. A great film can be found at the start of Lolo, until it finally lands on Lolo.