|The Lizzie McGuire Movie
2003 - PG - 94 Mins.
|Director: Jim Fall
|Producer: Stan Rogow
|Written By: Susan Estelle Jansen, Ed Decter and John J. Strauss
|Starring: Hilary Duff, Yani Gellman, Adam Lamberg, Clayton Snyder and Ashlie Brillault
|Review by: Bill King
Walking into "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" reminded me of when I walked into a theater to watch "Pokémon: The First Movie" back in 1999. I'm in over my head by seeing this movie. Here I am, sitting in a theater surrounded by fans of a trendy show, fans who are now seeing their hero on the big screen. In a case like this, I may not react as positively as those around me, but there can be exceptions, of course. Star Hilary Duff has her own show on The Disney Channel, and it's apparently popular enough to receive the big screen treatment. I wouldn't know, since I've never heard of the show. My current "paying" job as a Naval officer doesn't allow me that much free time.
So when do you turn 18?
"The Lizzie McGuire Movie" plays like a teenage girl's fantasy. Lizzie McGuire and some classmates head to Rome for a class field trip. Their guide is a teacher named Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein), who makes the students abide by a strict schedule, in order to see the most landmarks in the time allotted. While sightseeing, Lizzie meets Paolo (Yani Gellman), an Italian pop star. After several days of Lizzie pretending to be sick so she can sneak away and tour the city with Paolo, he makes a startling revelation. Because Lizzie looks so much like his singing partner Isabella, he asks her to stand in for Isabella at a music awards show.
Lizzie is shocked at this development. When she gets in front of a large crowd, she becomes clumsy, as we see at the beginning of the movie, when she ruins her middle school graduation. She goes along with it, but we learn of a more sinister plot at hand, and when the real Isabella shows up, things get complicated.
There are some supporting characters to be found, though none of them can steal the scene quite like Hilary Duff can. Lizzie's friend is Gordo (Adam Lamberg, who should take my advice and get a haircut), who covers for Lizzie while she sneaks out. Ashlie Brillault is Kate Sanders, Lizzie's rival who eventually (conveniently) becomes her friend. Lizzie's bratty little brother is Matt (Jake Thomas), who likes to take embarrassing pictures of his sister and sell them to whoever wants them.
The movie is contrived as can be, but it's meant to be. It's an outlet for countless teenage girls who imagine meeting a cute foreign guy and/or becoming singers. The story has everything that will attract fans of the show, but there's not a whole lot for non-fans to look forward to. This is a mediocre film, designed to appeal to a small demographic, yet I couldn't get passed the charm of Hilary Duff. She's a fresh face, and her performance is filled with warmth and good-natured humor. Also, the movie isn't really boring. It gets slow in a few spots, but it moves along well enough otherwise.
I'm willing to give this movie credit. It's entertaining, to a point. It has a likable main character in Lizzie McGuire. Hilary Duff sings the songs on the movie's soundtrack, and her performance at the music awards show, with Duff playing both Lizzie and Isabella, is energetic and entertaining. She has good vocal skills, and her performance is above what I expected. "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" is a harmless little movie that will appeal to young teens, but adults who think they're too good for this material will probably stay away at all costs.