Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen
queen Lindsay Lohan stars in new Disney flick
Friday, February 20,
by Alex Stroup, staff writer
Let me just get the disclaimers
out of the way. I am a 30-year-old cynical, childless man. I am about as far away
from the intended audience of this movie as you could possibly get while remaining
You might want to take that into accountthat's all
So, as the lights dimmed in the theater, I cleared my
mind and tried to go back to a time when Patrick Dempsey represented the everyteen
and Can't Buy Me Love (1987) really had something important to say.
of a Teenage Drama Queen is a pre-teen fantasy movie. Really, it has everything
the 12-year-old could hope for. They're represented by 15-year-old Mary Cep (Lindsay
Lohan). Though, Mary would really prefer to be called Lola, because that fits
Lohan, as with her Freaky Friday (2002) character, is
again playing the safely rebellious teenager that is found only in movies and
the naïve imaginations of pre-adolescents. Mary/Lola is sure that she is
destined to be a star someday, and is traumatized when her mother moves the family
out of New York City to the mortifyingly suburban Dellwood, New Jersey.
with all such movies, she quickly finds a friend in a fellow loner (Ella, played
by Alison Pill), a potential bad-boy boyfriend (Eli Marienthal), and a conflict
with the school's most popular girl, Carla (Megan Fox).
Unlike most such
films, Lola doesn't go through a phase of trying to fit in only to learn in the
end that you have to be who you are. Instead, Lola is what every girl wants to
be: confident in herself and the idea that people will like you anyway.
should give you a sense of the Brady Bunch fantasy involved that the primary concern
of half the student body seems to be the casting of the school play. Even though
Lola is scandalized at the thought of doing an modernized Pygmalion (as
if that play hadn't already been updated a 100 times) she tries out for the Eliza
Doolittle role and earns the true enmity of Carla by getting it.
all of this is the intense love that Lola and Ella have for a band called Sidarthur,
the lead singer of which Lola considers the best thing since Shakespeare and a
poet who has touched her soul.
When it is announced that Sidarthur is breaking
up, we head into the lesson-learning phase of the movie. There's going to be one
final concert and then a big after-party at lead singer's (Adam Garcia) home.
Of course, Carla's father has connections and she's already invited to both, and
taunts Lola with it. Lola tells a lie, then tells more lies to make the first
lie not a lie, and things snowball from there.
Pretty standard stuff.
stuff can be good though. Freaky Friday was good. Lindsay Lohan continues
to present a fine chemistry (though she is already looking a little too mature
to be playing 15), but there just isn't much to work with. While her character
is much more self-assured than usual for such a film, Lola never really faces
much adversity, which renders facile what little personal growth she goes through.
ever present evil popular girls. ©Buena Vista Distribution.
extent that anybody is worth highlighting, it is Alison Pill as Lola's friend
Ella. Ella has similar sensibilities as Lola, but has lived her whole life in
suburban conformity and hasn't the courage to break out.
While her character
is no more real than Lohan's, Pitt does get to display a range of emotions and
gets most of the funny lines. Combined with a contagious smile, the movie is definitely
better when she's onscreen.
Throughout the movie, we're reminded of Lohan's
musical aspirations. In Freaky Friday, she was limited to just a couple
of performances. The school production of Eliza Rocks!, unfortunately,
gives several additional changes for Lohan to strut her stuff. In the closing
credits, it seems like two dozen songs were performed by her.
that she's bad (simply unremarkable), but it thoroughly distracts from the movie
and feels like a blatant attempt to sell CDs. After the logical end of the movie,
there is still a 10-minute mini-concert as we are shown what a high school with
a 3,000-seat auditorium and a touring-company set and costume budget can do to
Pygmalion. Frankly, I didn't much care by that point.
But to the
fantasies of the young, the idea that a bunch of high school kids are going to
produce such a polished production may be what makes it worth watching.
Dempsey never did much for me, so I surely wouldn't understand.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Alex here.
of a Teenage Drama Queen is a Touchstone Pictures release.
theatrical release: Friday, February 20, 2004
by Sara Sugarman.
Screenplay by Gail Parent.
Running time: 86 minutes
Rating: 5 out of 10
Alex Stroup is a degreed librarian with an undergraduate degree in history. An avid reader, movie buff, and devoted information junkie, Alex currently lives and works in the Northern California Bay Area. Alex is also the CEO of MousePlanet.
Click here to contact Alex.