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|Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E
dir Sara Sugarman
scr Gail Parent
with Lindsay Lohan, Alison Pill, Eli Marienthal, Carol Kane, Adam Garcia, Glenne Headly, Tom McCamus, Megan Fox, Sheila McCarthy, Richard Fitzpatrick, Maggie Oskam, Rachael Oskam
release US 20.Feb.04, UK 7.May.04
Important Life Lessons: Marienthal and Lohan
An energetic cast and random lines of snappy dialog almost elevate this insipid comedy into something entertaining. But not quite. The title refers to Lola (Lohan), a larger-than-life teen whose entire world crumbles when her mother (Headly) does the unthinkable and moves the family from Manhattan to New Jersey. Lola's thrift-shop wackiness is a bit unsettling in her new suburban high school, but she quickly becomes fast friends with the smart but slightly nerdy Ella (Pill) and Sam (Marienthal), while just as quickly discovering her nemesis in the popular, rich Carla (Fox). This rivalry isn't helped when Lola lands the lead role in Eliza Rocks, the eccentric drama teacher's (Kane) new musical version of Pygmalion.
There's a decent script in here, and the cast infuses it with enthusiastically offbeat touches, but director Sugarman can't resist making it even zanier with fantasy sequences and editing flourishes. She then adds so many Important Life Lessons that it gets truly unbearable--trite messages about friendship and loyalty, the falseness of celebrity, the danger of telling little white lies, the courage to be yourself--right to the point where Lola actually says, "Here's what I learned"! Sugarman condescends so badly to her audience that nothing will speak to anyone over about age 5. It certainly never remotely touches the realities of teen life on anything beyond the most superficially silly level.
In addition, the adult characters are so badly whittled down that there's virtually nothing left. Kane is the only one who registers, mostly due to her wondrously deranged performance and her over-the-top costumes and make-up. Headly on the other hand is barely here at all; and Garcia's dreamboat rock star--Jim Morrison meets Steven Tyler--never has a chance to make much sense. Fortunately, Lohan is such a glittering presence at the film's centre that we can't help but love her. She and Pill dive into every scene, and Lohan shines in the musical numbers, especially during the otherwise cliched final sequence. Lindsay rocks!
|millie, somerset, england: "i like this film very much but can it really happen in real life? also linsey lohan is a very lucky person! she always seems to get the gorgeous guy! for example Eli Marienthal AND chad micheal murray in Freaky friday! how many real people can look as great as she does in anything! all i want to say is how can anyone be like linsey lohan? But it's a good film and i recommend it to everyone!" (13.Nov.04)
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