Just to be clear before we start today, I did not choose this film.
Why do I hate myself?
After graduating from junior high, Lizzie McGuire and her classmates go on a two week trip to Rome, where she is discovered to bear a striking resemblance to an Italian pop star named Isabella and is recruited to impersonate Isabella at a music awards show. But all is not as it appears to be. Sleep ensues.
Things I learned from The Lizzie McGuire Movie:
- Apparently, eating spaghetti is a major act of rebellion.
- It’s okay to lie to your teacher and your family about being sick as long as you end up singing live on stage during a conveniently-scheduled international music awards show.
- Alex Borstein is wasted in Family Guy. She should do more live-action work.
- In the world of Disney, an 18 year old guy* can basically seduce a 14 year old girl and nobody seems to mind.
- There was a Cylon on the loose in Rome in 2003.
I went into this flick completely cold, with no knowledge whatsoever of the Lizzie McGuire tv series, which is understandable since I was a 21 year old man when the show was first broadcast and therefore somewhat outside the target audience. Besides, my satellite package didn’t include the Disney Channel. To say my expectations were low would be an accurate description and I was not disappointed, though I’m sure this was widely adored by the faithful.
The thing about a movie like this – expanding on a hugely successful tv show with a tightly focussed but very large and devoted fanbase, and with the corporate backing of Lord Mickey thrown in for good measure – is that it is as close to critic-proof as a movie can be. It doesn’t matter if the story has been told a hundred times before (it has) or if some of the performances wouldn’t pass muster in a high school play (they wouldn’t). The fact that there is no real exposition to explain who all the characters are and how they relate to each other demonstrates perfectly that the filmmakers behind The Lizzie McGuire Movie are not bothered about converting new fans. This is for the initiates. This is a gift for the tween girls who have been with the show since it started and have grown up with Lizzie and her little cartoon version of herself that takes all the freak-out inner monologue moments (although that is a fairly original concept that I actually kind of enjoyed) and her “dysfunctional” family and her “wacky” friends.
I can’t rip this film. I want to, but I would just feel bad about myself afterwards. If you’re a fan, you’ve already seen it, and I’d be curious to hear your opinion by the way. If you’re not a fan, you don’t need to bother.
*As far as I can tell, Paolo’s age is never stated explicitly, but at one point he picks Lizzie up in his car and takes her for a drive around Rome. The legal driving age in Italy is 18, so even if he is just legal that’s still all kinds of wrong.