A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has some mildly crude language. Lizzie's brother and his best friend conspire to blackmail Lizzie and to sell embarrassing pictures of her. Lizzie and her friends lie so that she can spend time with Paulo. There is a very sweet kiss between people who care very much for each other. Lizzie wears a navel-baring outfit.
What's the story?
Hilary Duff stars as her TV series character Lizzie McGuire in this feature-length adventure. Lizzie's middle school graduation turns humiliating when she's called on as a last minute substitute speaker and trips, causing the backdrop to fall on top of the entire graduating class. But she is looking forward to a trip to Rome with her friends, even though it is led by her new high school principal, Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein), who seems more like a drill sergeant. Lizzie's spirits remain high even when she finds out that her nemesis, popular girl Kate (Ashlie Brillault), will be coming along. In Rome, Lizzie meets Paulo (Yani Gellman), a dreamy Italian teen pop idol who is mesmerized by her uncanny resemblance to his singing partner. She pretends to be sick so she can sneak out to tour Rome on the back of his Vespa, and he persuades her to pretend to be his partner on a live award broadcast. She feels like Cinderella. But she ends up learning some new things about old friends, and some old lessons about her new one.
Is it any good?
Fans of Lizzie McGuire are certain to love this guaranteed girl-pleaser. Lizzie is admired by a handsome international pop star, gets a makeover and tries on a lot of wild clothes, triumphs over the snarky popular girl, and gets to be a superstar with all her friends and family in the audience. If you or someone you love is between the ages of 7-14, and especially of the female variety, resistance is futile.
It's not really a movie. It's just a 90-minute episode of the popular Disney channel television show, partly filmed in Rome. But we can be grateful that it is a nice, wholesome story created for an age group usually neglected by Hollywood. Duff has a warm, sweet presence, and the use of a little animated Lizzie to comment on the action adds liveliness to her adventures. I liked Lizzie's relationship with best pal-who-just-might-be-more David Gordon (Adam Lamberg). And I liked the way that Lizzie's friend-turned nemesis, Kate, showed a little class and more than a little humility without getting sugary.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether people really do make their own luck, and how wishes can help. They should talk about the lies Lizzie, Kate, and Gordo told -- which are worse? Should Lizzie have been suspicious when Paulo wanted her to deceive the audience? How did Lizzie decide whom she could trust? Paulo says everyone has trouble feeling confident -- do you agree? Why do Miss Ungermeyer and Sergei speak of themselves in the third person? Do you agree that girls who act like they know everything are a "turn-off?"
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