I saw The Lizzie McGuire Movie on Saturday afternoon. It’s not a film I’d see of my own volition. But I tried to watch it through the eyes of a 10-year old child, whom I accompanied to the film because she really wanted to see it. She likes the Lizzie McGuire television show, which I’ve never seen, and really wanted to see the movie (but her folks didn’t, so I played The Good Uncle!).
Knowing nothing about the show, its characters and setting, I was able to glean enough about the show, all of it the usual clichés: perky 15-year old tween girl who doesn’t understand why she isn’t popular, her best male school buddy, Gordo, who is realizing he has a crush on her (duh), rival mean glamour queen, second goofball skateboard guy friend, loser parents (Robert Carradine has been reduced to this?), stereotypically annoying little brother, and a flaming gay teacher? Anyway…
In this film, Lizzie and her schoolmates graduate from junior high and take a two week trip to Rome, under the watchful eye of Miss Ungermeyer (wonderfully played by Alex “Miss Swan” Borstein, late of MAD-TV, and much missed on MAD-TV.) Her character is the true comic relief, and Borstein milks her lines for all their worth.
At graduation, Lizzie reveals herself to be a complete klutz, and her brother, plotting her downful, videotapes the event and sends it to “the networks” to embarrass her. Once in Rome, she is assigned a room with her arch rival, Kate Sanders. On an outing, a local Italian pop superstar (Paolo) notices her, and once they start talking, he reveals that Lizzie is a dead ringer for his singing companion, Isabella. She agrees to meet with him the next day, and he confesses that he and Isabella have split, she is recovering on an island away from the media glare. Paulo convinces her to appear with him as if she’s Isabella, and to sing with him at the local Italian music awards. In the meantime, she pretends to be sick so that Miss Ungermeyer won’t suspect anything. Gordo and Kate (surprisingly) do their best to cover for her. Without revealing the ending, suffice it to say that there is the standard moral of the story, and most will live happily ever after, return to America, and film more Lizzie McGuire movies. I hope I don’t see any of them, but if duty calls, I’ll be there like a good Uncle.
Meanwhile, the word from the little girl with me was positive: she liked the movie, appreciated the moral of the story, and thinks Hilary Duff is a good actress. Perhaps that’s all that counts: this movie is made for her and her contemporaries, and really, no one else. Skip it unless you want to be a good Auntie or Uncle!