LolliLove (2004)
By: Devon B. on February 23, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Troma (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 64 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Jenna Fischer
Starring: James Gunn, Jenna Fischer, Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Lloyd Kaufman, Judy Greer
Screenplay: Jenna Fischer, Peter Alton
Music: Peter Alton, Willie Wisely
Tagline: Saving the world.One sucker at a time.
Country: USA
I'd noticed two things about Troma DVDs of late. One is that newer American Troma releases don't generally have the trailers labelled as trailers anymore on the disc menus. The other is that if a Troma trailer isn't listed as a trailer, it tends to get ported over fine for the Region 4 release, whereas most trailers just called trailers are still refused classification. I've speculated more than once that the newer American Troma DVDs were rarely using the word "trailer" anymore to make the Region 4 releasing process easier. But, tiring of idle speculation, I decided to go straight to the source and ask Toxic Avenger creator and President of Troma Lloyd Kaufman what the reasoning was. Here's what happened.

Me: Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger, newer Troma DVDs seem to be not listing the trailers as trailers. Does this have anything with the fact that Troma trailers are still bizarrely refused classification in Australia?

Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger: The Troma trailers are much more than trailers, hence we don't want to debase them by referring to them in such a crass commercial manner. They are actually "cinematic jewels."

So, there you go, I was totally right!

Anyway, while wading through the travesty that was Dumpster Baby, I came across the cinematic jewel for LolliLove, the relatively new film from Jenna Fisher, who I guess is on the US version of The Office. LolliLove looked very funny, in the vein of the films from Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy and, well, The Office.

LolliLove is the tale of James and Jenna Gunn, an affluent couple that are looking to give something back to the community by starting a new charity for the homeless. Naturally, the best way to be help those less fortunate is to hand out lollipops with wrappers featuring inspirational sayings and artwork created by James, whose artistic skills rival those of Mr. Bean. The film is a "documentary" that follows the couple as they try to get their charity up and running, with Jenna doing everything and James being a pompous git who often won't help in even the smallest fashion.

One of the big dangers with satires like this is if they're not extreme enough to be humorous. This happens often in the overrated Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, especially in the scene where Sacha Baron Cohen meets with the equal rights advocates and says things that they probably hear every day. Thankfully, LolliLove's premise is both plausible and insane. Part of the plausible feel may come from the fact that real life husband and wife Gunn and Fischer seem to be playing caricatures of how they COULD be if Gunn didn't have the grounding that he got from working at Troma. The jokes can be a bit dark and un-PC, but they are funny. The improv generally works well, and certainly adds authenticity to the "documentary" aspects of the film. Gunn is highly entertaining, but Fischer has more actual acting ability, and deftly straddles the line between camp and seriousness, further heightening the movie's sense of realism.Admittedly, a few jokes fall flat, but I was certainly laughing more often than not during the film.

Given the subject matter, I would say this film is likely to appeal to fans of shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm and the UK The Office, because there are plenty of moments designed to evoke laughter out of uncomfortableness. Maybe it would also appeal to fans of the US The Office, but I haven't seen that, so wouldn't know. Some people might say the film exploits the homeless (Fischer successfully refutes this silly claim in the extra features), but I never at any point thought I was watching exploitation.

LolliLove is a bit of an odd release for Troma, because it's not a blood, boob, and beast fest, so this is Troma just releasing an independent film. Granted, it's an independent film with some big names attached, but still I think it's cool Troma put it out.
Video
LolliLove is presented at 1.33:1. The film is shot on video, and has video grain, but is relatively clear. Things can get dark, focus can wave, and all sorts of things, but if you complain about that, you're an idiot because it's supposed to look like a low budget documentary. However, there were a few digital glitches and moments of pixelation, which aren't a result of the documentary style. In the interviews in the making of, the picture is quite a bit fuzzier than in the actual film.
Audio
The audio is a two channel English track, and the dialogue is all audible, though you do have to listen closely in one diner scene. It's not a movie designed to need a dynamic sound mix, and the track is entirely serviceable.
Extra Features
While Troma do put out some really awesome DVDs, they do have a tendency to pad out discs with extras not entirely relevant to the main feature. This is not the case with LolliLove.

There's a making of which runs over 30 minutes long. Normally, I don't like making ofs, as they tend to be back patting pap, but this making of is hugely entertaining. The highlight was Gunn trying to insert references about having anal sex with Fischer into a scene, and Fischer being against it because it might upset her parents. Obviously, the idea of a bum fucking her bloody gash is okay for Ma and Pa Fischer, though.

The deleted and extended scenes also run over 30 minutes, and, as is often the case with the Christopher Guest films, a lot of gems had to be shorn for run time or for story purposes. If you like the film, you'll enjoy these missing moments. There're also outtakes from two scenes from the film, plus two scenes from the film's previous incarnation, and like the deleted scenes these are highly amusing.

You can also listen to a commentary featuring Gunn, Fischer, producer and Troma alum Stephen Blackehart, and cinematographer/editor/music guy/writer/narrator Peter Alton. Info does repeat from the making of here, and Gunn has another go at LEMMY, but this is a good track. One interesting point for me was hearing how Fischer used her LolliLove acting experience to help get her role on The Office.

Rounding out the specific extras are a featurette of LolliLove "debuting" at Tromadance, and the film's cinematic jewel. But lo, there is still more to be had, and while it's not necessarily LolliLove only material, it is pertinent.

The DVD sleeve says the disc has the interviews with Gunn and Fischer from the Make Your Own Damn Movie! box set, but my DVD only had Gunn's interview and a mention that Fischer's was part of the set. Anyway, this is a good interview for those who want to learn how to become a screenwriter. Gunn says the key is to write your ass off; hopefully Fischer didn't do that on LolliLove, or he'll never get to realise his sodomy fantasy.

The ad for All I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger is here as usual, but it is a book co-written by Gunn, so that makes sense. There's also a clip from Tromeo & Juliet featuring Gunn and Blackehart, as well as that film's cinematic jewel. Footage from Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger, and Debbie Rochon's visits to the set of Gunn's Slither, can also be found.

The DVD sleeve mentions classic Troma intros featuring Gunn and Blackehart, but there weren't any. This extra does appear on the Tromeo 10th anniversary DVD if you really want to check them out. And the DVD cover promises the cinematic jewel for Rockabilly Vampire, which stars Blackehart, but it's also not present. Blackehart is certainly one of the better actors to rise out of Troma, but that film ain't worth watching, and neither is the cinematic jewel, so it not being here is no big loss. However, there is a picture of the cover (and the cover for Touch Me In The Morning), which is almost like a cinematic jewel.

Really, the only non-specific extras are the ad for the Troma website, and the Poultrygeist cinematic jewel. From the cinematic jewel, I'm betting that Poultrygeist will be getting the Palme d'Or for best film when it's presented at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

In a stellar move, the Lollilove DVD does NOT have the Radiation March. YAY!

There's also an egg. In the Slither-ing Through Tinseltown menu, press down on "main" to put a lollipop on the face of Lloyd Kaufman, President of Troma and creator of the Toxic Avenger. Press enter to see a funny outtake of his from LolliLove.The egg can be highlighted in a variety of ways, but this one will certainly work.
The Verdict
I tend to get bored with extras really quickly these days. Normally, I have to watch all the extras on a DVD because I am writing a review, but LolliLove was the first DVD in a long time where I actually watched all the extras because I was enjoying them, so decided to write a review. Because the extras are all good, the sleeve's claim of three hours of bonus material means something, even if it's other claims about interviews, intros, and cinematic jewels didn't. I don't tend to give out scores of five, but when I do it's usually to a Troma disc because when Troma get it right there's not much more you could want, and with Lollilove, Troma got it very right. The film's funny as fuck, the extras are hilarious, and the film isn't even one you have to hide from Troma detractors… whoever they may be.
Movie Score
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