The Lizzie McGuire Movie Movie Review
The movie is merely an extension of Duff's popular Disney television show where she plays the superficial title character Lizzie McGuire a recent middle-school grad, here on a two-week class trip to Rome. But, after a day of touring the sites with her bossy tour guide Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein), her best friend Gordo (Adam Lamberg) convinces Lizzie they should dump the group and find their own adventure. Lizzie is eventually pulled aside by an Italian pop star named Paolo (Yani Gellman) who thinks she is a dead ringer for his former singing partner, Isabella. We learn Isabella is refusing to appear with Paolo at an upcoming music awards show and that he needs Lizzie to double as Isabella to avoid a publicity nightmare. The shallow, starstruck Lizzie naturally obliges.
The adventure that follows is a pointless bore; it's completely predictable and sends the wrong message. Director Jim Fall fails to take full advantage of the potential Roman historical lessons (see Roman Holiday); rather, he chooses to follow the directionless antics of Lizzie and Paolo as they sign autographs, pose for pictures, and try on outrageous clothes and jewelry. If Paolo's only reason for spending time with Lizzie is for her to learn to be exactly like Isabella, why do they only discuss their plans in one brief scene? Equally frustrating is that I find it really hard to believe everyone in Rome, including Isabella's assistants, are so oblivious to the fact that Lizzie is not the real deal. To top it off, the film ends predictably with Lizzie performing a song ironically called "What Dreams Are Made Of," while she lies to adults and betrays her friends in order to achieve those dreams. Is this the kind of lesson we find acceptable?
The Lizzie McGuire Movie is simply an unabashed promotion of Duff's image, just as Crossroads was for Spears last year. While Spears attempted (and failed) to use her film as a vehicle to save her sagging musical career, the only point of Duff's film is to vault her career from little-known childhood actor on the Disney channel to grown-up pop stardom. Though the film lacks redeeming value, Duff's loyal fans will certainly love it anyway, and she will reap the giant rewards she's obviously after. Britney, look out!
Sad to say, but kids are going to love the extras on the Lizzie DVD, including lots of Duff musical extras, deleted scenes, and an oh-so-special alternate ending.
Hey, is that Cody Banks inside!?