Lou! Journal infime France 2014 – 104min.
Lou! Journal infime
In the center of a small and special town, in an old and almost abandoned building, Lou lives in a bubble with a single mother who’s a bit nuts, spending part of her time as a Moldavian translator and the other devouring eccentric sci-fi manga. Lou’s principal obsession is spying on her neighbor across the way – the gorgeous Tristan – while her best friend Mina hangs around unenthusiastically. But when Mina decides to find new friends who are less self-centered, Lou realizes she must put her and her mother’s lives in order…
Hollywood has comic book superheroes, France has kids from “bandes dessinées”: Le Petit Nicolas and Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas; L’Elève Ducobu followed by Vacances de Ducobu; Boule et Bill; and of course the upcoming Astérix - Le Domaine des Dieux. For several years now, adaptations of popular French comic books have been so successful as to be synonymous with success. Taking a page from Riad Sattouf and Marjane Satrapi, Julien Neel adapts his own baby into a sweet debut film targeted at the little ones, starring Ludivine Sagnier, Kyan Khojandi, star of the web series Bref, and even Nathalie Baye for the adults.
The set design – somewhere between Michel Gondry’s bric-a-brac and Wes Anderson’s melancholy – deserves special mention, as does the care taken with some improbable sequences, from the off-the-wall, Barbarella-style manga to the laser-tag game with an electro soundtrack. Nevertheless, Lou, adapted from the first book, suffers from the same symptoms as its predecessors. Despite the care taken to create the right ambiance, costumes and set decoration, a very flat screenplay and thin characters make for a boring adventure. A sequel is clearly announced by an impending visit to grandma’s house taken from book two, “Mortebouse”, but it’s hard to get excited about that.