"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" - Movie Review
- Friday, May 02, 2003
Genre: Comedy, Family
Rating: PG (for mild thematic elements)
Release Date: May 2, 2003
Actors: Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, Robert Carradine, Hallie Todd, Jake Thomas, Yani Gellman, Alex Borstein, Clayton Snyder, Ashlie Brillault, Brendan Kelly
Director: Jim Fall
Special Notes: I went to Rome a couple of months ago and enjoyed seeing all the beautiful sites in this movie. So if you or your kids are wondering what Rome looks like, here's your chance.
Plot: Lizzy McGuire (Duff) is a graduating junior high school student who takes a class trip to Rome, Italy. After making a pact to have the best time possible with her best friend Gordo (Lamberg), Lizzie explores Rome and is mistaken for one-half of a popular Italian teen star duo. When the duo's Paolo asks look-a-like Lizzie to pretend like she's his partner Isabella, Lizzie agrees and ends up surprising everyone, including herself.
Good: Every generation has to have a "Gidget Goes to Rome" style of movie or a Haley Mills in "Trouble with Angels", so this generation gets Duff. This is a fantasy filled with everything girls dream about: cool clothes, a trip to Rome with no parents, beautiful tourist attractions, cute boys, Roman romance, Italian accents and singing on stage with everyone cheering for you -- what else could a girl ask for? Duff is cute, fun, klutzy and full of adventure, but most of all she's popular with girls six-and-up who adore her TV shows on the Disney Channel. In fact, I discovered she's popular with the young male teen crowd as well (my son will kill me for mentioning this, but I made him go with me to see this movie and he and his friend couldn't quit talking about how cute she was). Aside from parents explaining to their kids why it's not right to fake being sick, lie to your chaperone or sneak around pretending to be someone you're not, themes of loyalty to friends, trust, friends sticking up for friends, being deceitful to fans, and dealing with being a celebrity are some of the other issues to discuss. I thought the part where Lizzie's thoughts are represented on the screen by an animated version of herself was clever and funny. Although Lizzie doesn't look like most 8th grade graduates (she's the kind of girl most girls resented in 9th grade because she's so mature and older looking), the romance, dialogue and adventure in this film are wonderfully written by screenwriter Susan Estelle Jansen. In fact, this movie is refreshingly tame compared to Britney Spear's disastrous "Crossroads" targeted at the same generation. I like the healthy themes this movie ends up supporting and the fact that Duff is a great role model for younger girl fan clubs … (so far).
Bad: No strong language but there are a few insults and some name-calling (especially by her younger, bratty brother), a couple of kisses, some sexy dancing, and lots of klutzy pratfalls and action -- tame compared to most teen movies these days.
Bottom Line: I didn't think I would enjoy the premise of this movie as much as I did but I have to admit, it kept my attention and made me laugh. This is a lighthearted, enjoy-your-popcorn-with-your-children movie ... and the sites of Rome make it delightful for the adults.
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