STARRING Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire, Adam Lamberg, Yani Gellman, Alex Borstein
Let me start by saying that I'm no snob when it comes to watching movies. I'll usually watch (and enjoy) pretty much anything: be it, say, classic Hitchcock; laughable Irwin Allen disaster pics; mindless action flicks; or even cutesy-pie movies aimed at prepubescent girls.
That, dear IMDb surfers, brings me to The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a slightly amusing, hammy, mid-teenage girl flick that eschews any real character development in favour of Duff's apparent charm and seminal comedic ability to fill the ninety or so minutes. I should add that I have never seen (and will probably never see) an episode of Lizzie McGuire, the now-defunct Disney-owned television show that spawned - surprise, surprise - this Disney-owned family release. I suppose this movie was a farewell to the Lizzie McGuire character - but I swear it'll be lost on you if you are one of those who has not seen the television show. Take, for instance, the whole subplot about Lizzie's younger brother and his blonde cohort's reason for trying to show up Lizzie at every turn (which was totally lost on me), and classmate Kate's reason for being such a bitch to Lizzie (??).
But anyhoo, bubbly Lizzie heads to Italy with her classmates to see the sights of Rome, but spends very little actual time with them. (The extras playing her classmates must have felt quite wooden making this movie, having nothing much to say or do.) On the other hand, Lizzie's motormouth teacher (Borstein, a former MAD TV regular) plays (or should I say, overplays) the role of Miss Ungermeyer, and, as a result, comes across as very grating. The scene where teacher and students visit the Trevi Fountain is especially grating (and cringeworthy). Ungermeyer, with an American flag conspicuously in hand, cuts a swath through the local population - and 'mows down' any cultural sensitivities by obnoxiously barking "Scusi" and "Grazie"at the locals.
Without venturing into too much detail about the fairly tame and somewhat lame storyline, Lizzie's transformation from school student to fresh-faced singer is mildly amusing (but an oh-so-obvious marketing ploy by Duff's music label). TIRED is one word to describe this same old 'girl comes out of her shell' storyline that's been done a million time before. Private Benjamin, Protocol, Educating Rita, Romancing the Stone, Legally Blonde, and The Princess Diaries, come to mind as a few (more successful) titles of this particular genre.
So, if you're looking for screen chemistry, you may find some between leads Duff and Gellman. If you're looking for a movie that showcases Rome's beauty, this movie won't disappoint. If you're looking for something above average, with a touch of magic to it, you probably won't find it here.