Lizzie McGuire: Her movie needs to fail

    All right, I won’t deny it: I’m a dork. I watch the Disney Channel. But perhaps the most embarrassing of all is that I like “”The Lizzie McGuire Show.”” So why is it that I want so badly for “”The Lizzie McGuire Movie”” to fail?

    Maybe first and foremost, because I’m a skeptic when it comes to TV shows that are made into films and vice versa. This hardly ever works. When it does, though, it can be brilliant. But I’m pretty sure there aren’t any geniuses at Disney who could pull off this one. Call me a disbeliever, but it just won’t work.

    The thing that disturbs me most about this movie is that the very best character in the show, Miranda (played by 15-year-old singer/songwriter/actress Lalaine), won’t be appearing in the film. OK, I probably sound like a freakishly obsessed preteen “”Lizzie McGuire”” fan, but in all actuality, Miranda is the only character on the show who shows any amount of individuality and determination (besides perhaps maybe Gordo) that doesn’t bug the hell out of me. Miranda doesn’t care who the most popular girl in school is or how others perceive the way she dresses. She doesn’t try to please everyone and most importantly, she’s not as stupid as Lizzie.

    That sounds harsh, but I really can’t stand the main character. Lizzie McGuire (Hillary Duff) is the hormonal 14-year-old who spends her days chasing after dimwitted cuties and trying not to make a fool of herself in front of the cool girls. The show does a great job of bringing up important topics for adolescents like friendship, rivalry, honesty, first loves and, of course, first bras, through the eyes of three teens who don’t exactly fit in, and Duff does a decent job of bringing some realistic humor to the show.

    However, if it weren’t for the excellent cast of eclectic friends and family, including the funny hipster Miranda, the silly Jewish filmmaker kid Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Robert Carradine (of “”Revenge of the Nerds”” fame) as the father, this show would never work. Ridiculously pretty, Duff ends up playing an absurdly shallow girl interested mostly in clothes, makeup and boys. She can be charming and self-deprecating at times, but for the most part, she’s just really annoying.

    In the end, the character of Lizzie is highly anti-feminist, and this type of exaggerated comedy may work on television, but I’m doubtful it will fly on the big screen. So why do I even bother watching this show, when I dislike the title character so much? It’s all Miranda.

    Miranda is the character who is uncompromising, sometimes stubborn and will speak her mind. While Lizzie is cowering behind the perfect, popular girl Kate (Ashlie Brillault), Miranda will get in her face and argue with her using the perfect amount of teenage flair. She’s the girl who will grab a guy and say “”I refuse to be the wallflower”” not constrained by social conventions that are so important to Lizzie. It’s this type of independence and resolve that is missing from so many female characters on television and film.

    Additionally, she’s the principal Asian character, and what’s so refreshing is that she isn’t depicted as being a dorky egghead or a submissive female. Instead, she has character, drive and a distinctive personality lacking from many female characters found in youth programming.

    So why isn’t this primary character (she’s one of Lizzie’s two closest friends) not in the movie? Who knows? Rumors are circulating about another movie she was filming, an album she’s recording and even a reported rivalry between the two female leads. Either way, Lalaine will not be in the “”Lizzie”” movie, even at their eighth grade graduation at the beginning of the film.

    Instead, the story focuses on Lizzie as she goes to Rome for her class trip where she meets and falls in love with a teenage Italian singer who turns her into a beautiful pop star. But the fun is threatened when her parents find out and the entire family flies to Rome.

    My first reaction upon hearing this plot, like that of many rational individuals was, “”What the hell?””

    Firstly, what type of public school would arrange for eighth graders to go on a class trip to Italy? Some schools might offer a trip to Washington, D.C., but Europe? And I’m sure it’s incredibly easy to meet a huge pop star in Europe who will offer to give you a makeover and make you an internationally recognized singer. And of course lots of families can afford to drop everything and fly to Europe in order to discipline a teenager without a thought to responsibilities or financial difficulty. Right.

    These may seem like minor details in the perfect world of Disney and Hollywood, but are incredibly important in the real world. These types of unrealistic depictions can severely skew the perceptions of the impressionable young who may idolize Lizzie McGuire (please God no!), and that is really scary.

    How many modern day Cinderella stories will Disney try and cash in on? And why are we all falling for them? I mean I love a great romance just like the next girl, and I’m a sucker for fairy tales, but there’s a point when they become so commercialized and drained of any true value that it becomes a frightening spectacle. So if this movie makes it, if it becomes a top grossing film for even a couple of weekends (I’ll let the first one slide), I shall be incredibly disappointed. And you can be pretty sure that you won’t be seeing me at “”The Lizzie McGuire Movie.””

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