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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Lizzie McGuire Movie
Lizzie McGuire Movie
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // August 12, 2003
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 8, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Energy and a stunning foreign location go a long (if not successful) way towards making something out of "the Lizzie McGuire Movie", a thinly written feature film adaptation of the TV show of the same name. The picture takes adorably klutzy Lizzie (Hilary Duff) and sends her on a class trip to Rome (Yes, rome. Rome, Italy. A junior high class trip...all the way to Rome.), but not before Lizzie ruins her graduation ceremony.

Lizzie and her best pal, Gordo (Adam Lamberg) agree to find adventure in Italy and it's not long before she does - she's picked out by Italian pop star Paolo to replace his singing partner, Isabella (also Duff) - who happens to look just like Lizzie. It's not long before Lizzie is sneaking away from her tour group and spending more time with Paolo. Although she enjoys her newfound fame, it's only a matter of time until she's caught by enemy Kate (Ashlie Brillault), tour guide, Lizzie's soon-to-be high school principal Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein) or, once they get word of it - Lizzie's parents and bratty little brother.

Filled out by montages, rambling conversations and other filler, "Lizzie McGuire" clearly works best as a 30-minute TV show. Are Paolo's intentions for the best? Will Gordo secretly be jealous and realize he has feelings for Lizzie? Will we get occasional promotion of Duff-as-pop-star (she's a little late into that arena)? The answers are pretty predictable. The film is generally presented in a sitcom fashion, too - despite the stunning Rome locations, the focus is clearly on the characters, with little attention paid to the backgrounds during conversations. Although the film's beautiful lighting is enjoyable, it's a little dismaying that neither the locations or the 'scope frame were put to better use.

"Lizzie McGuire" seemed to be a case of the supporting performances being more entertaining. "MAD TV" star Borstein barks out some inspired lines to the students that sound as if they must have been improvs. She's the funniest thing in the movie. Duff is high-energy and very cute, but she doesn't show much in the way of comedic timing (which star of this year's very similar "What a Girl Wants", Amanda Bynes, does) and uses her smile to get through most of the scenes. Ashlie Brillault and Adam Lamberg also make a better impression in supporting roles.

Overall, I can't say it wasn't cute and I can't say I wasn't somewhat charmed by it, but it's awfully forgettable cotton candy.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Lizzie McGuire" is presented by Disney in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 pan & scan. Depsite my not caring for aspects of the film's cinematography, the transfer is actually quite strong. Sharpness and detail are superb, as the bright, outdoor scenes often boast strong depth and present fine details well. Some scenes had a pleasing, almost three-dimensional appearance.

However, there were some problems. Moderate amounts of edge enhancement were spotted in a few scenes, as were a few trace instances of compression artifacts. The print appeared to be in excellent condition, aside from a speck or two. Colors were warm, well-saturated and crisp, with no smearing or other concerns. Overall, a very nice transfer.

SOUND: "Lizzie McGuire" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's sound mix is a mixed bag, with occasional use of the surrounds. Still, while a few ambient sounds make their way to the rear speakers, there's plenty of instances where the sounds of the streets of Rome should have been heard. Definitely a teen movie soundtrack, the film's songs are given a large - almost startling, in fact - boost in the mix upon entrance. Dialogue remains clear and the songs do boast respectable low-end.

EXTRAS: A brief, promotional "making of", Hilary Duff music video, Duff in the recording studio featurette, 3 deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) and "sneak peek" trailers for other Disney fare.

Final Thoughts: "Lizzie McGuire" is obviously going to go over well with fans and the target demographic. Not being a member of either group, I found the film's high-energy, good-natured attitude allowed it to skip over some - but certainly not all - of its faults. Disney's DVD presents the film with fine audio/video and a few supplements. Recommended for fans - maybe a rental for anyone else.


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