If class trumped race in Curtis Hanson’s 8 Mile then pop culture similarly outperforms ancient culture in Jim Falls’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie, a culture-shock sitcom tailor-made for the teeny-bopper sect. Pretty yet clumsy Lizzie McGuire (Hilary Duff) has inherited the idiot gene that has similarly crippled her middle-class suburban family: mom minces words, dad quotes Shakespeare for fun, and her little brother is convinced that Oscars are handed out for being skeezy. A class trip introduces the very-blond Lizzie not to the Renaissance but to a teenage pop idol who may or may not be using her to subvert his singing partner, the brunette Isabella (also Duff). Falls, who previously pandered to gay sitcom lovers with his successful Trick, sees most of his queer inventions repeatedly compromised throughout this screechy romantic yarn (“Supermodel” blares throughout a runaway skit but it’s Taylor Dayne, not RuPaul, who does the singing). It’s only a matter of time before Lizzie discovers that “love will lift us up where we belong” (and that she was looking for said love in all the wrong places) but The Lizzie McGuire Movie has already done its damage by then. The film could have just as easily been called The Lizzie McGuire Experience, because it successfully panders to every superficial, soulless American teen girl who’s been media-trained to believe that they can snag Justin Timberlake if they just put a little Britney Spears in their step.
- Jim Fall
- Susan Estelle Jansen, Ed Decter, John J. Strauss
- Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg, Hallie Todd, Robert Carradine, Jake Thomas, Ashlie Brillault, Clayton Snyder, Alex Borstein, Yani Gellman
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