Friday, Feb. 20
A young actress of impressive poise, personality and comic chops, Lindsay Lohan
more than held her own with Jamie Lee Curtis
in last year's "Freaky Friday" -- which makes the underwhelming "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" all the more of a letdown.
In the title role, Lohan gets to show off her song-and-dance talents, but mainly she models David C. Robinson's costume confections, the only consistently buoyant aspect of the film. Girls ages 6-14 will get a charge from the fashion show, animation effects and, to a lesser degree, the cartoonish antics. But like most adolescent histrionics, the pic's impact on adults will be limited to mild amusement alternating with annoyance. The cute factor isn't enough to stir up significant boxoffice returns for the Walt Disney Co.
Lohan plays a budding Sarah Bernhardt who tosses aside her given name, Mary, for the more fitting handle Lola. She can't believe the calamity she's forced to endure when her divorced bohemian mother (Glenne Headly
) moves Lola and her young twin sisters from New York to the netherworld of suburban New Jersey. A self-described flamingo among pigeons, the despairing Lola crosses the bridge as though into oblivion. She promptly clashes with Burberry-clad Heather-in-training Carla (Megan Fox, savoring every villainous taunt), nabbing the lead in the school play and thus displacing the reigning drama queen.
Lola flirts with Sam (Eli Marienthal
) and becomes fast friends with the borderline-dowdy Ella (Alison Pill
, in a disappointing follow-up to her high-strung turn in "Pieces of April"), who lives in a stuffy gated community and dares not disturb the universe -- until Lola comes along.
Ella and Lola share a passion for the rock band Sidarthur, whose lyricist, Stu Wolff (Adam Garcia
), Lola considers the greatest poet since Shakespeare. A cataclysm of cosmic proportions takes place -- the band breaks up -- and the girls are determined to attend their New York farewell concert, though they don't have tickets. As fate would have it, Carla will be attending not only the show but the afterparty at Stu's Soho loft, and she won't let Lola forget it.
An adaptation of the book by Dyan Sheldon
, Gail Parent
's first feature script in 17 years captures teen-girl hyperbole but lacks fizz and certainly doesn't earn its supposed emotional climaxes. Helmer Sara Sugarman
, making her studio debut, struggles to tap a comic vein, never establishing momentum. Her 2001 "Very Annie Mary", set in her native Wales, was a comic grotesquerie with a grounding connection to character and place. Here, striving for whimsy, she throws in an assortment of bells and whistles, but for the most part the material is stubbornly inert, and the actors at times appear to be flailing.
Dance sequences choreographed by Marguerite Derricks, including numbers from the school production, provide bursts of energy and flair. As the shrill drama teacher overseeing the present-day musical version of "Pygmalion", Carol Kane delivers an unfortunate caricature, while Garcia earns a laugh or two as a cartoon version of a besotted rock star. Stephen H. Burum's lensing puts a high sheen on Leslie McDonald
's brightly colored production design.
CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN
Buena Vista Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Sara Sugarman
Screenwriter: Gail Parent
Producers: Robert Shapiro, Jerry Leider
Director of photography: Stephen H. Burum
Production designer: Leslie McDonald
Music: Mark Mothersbaugh
Costume designer: David C. Robinson
Editor: Anita Brandt Burgoyne
Lola: Lindsay Lohan
Stu: Adam Garcia
Karen: Glenne Headly
Ella: Alison Pill
Sam: Eli Marienthal
Miss Baggoli: Carol Kane
Carla: Megan Fox
Calum: Tom McCamus
Running time -- 89 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13