Oh, the wonderful things that come from the Disney Channel. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera... Oh, wait. Disney isn't known for producing the highest calibre stars. Hilary Duff shows strong potential at being an exception, but I'm afraid that won't happen until she leaves the mouse-ears behind.
Ok, I don't follow the Lizzie McGuire show, but I get the gimmick of the film. Lizzie goes to Rome, right? What I don't get, then, is why they put her in a story that could just as easily happen in Anytown, U.S.A. In Rome, Lizzie meets a pop music star, whose singing partner just so happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to Miss McGuire. Rebellious young quasi-romance ensues. Oh... I get it. Instead of being a far-fetched, silly storyline, it's a far-fetched and silly storyline set in Italy. Much better. But they could've at least done ten minutes of sightseeing in the process.
So much of this film is obnoxious. A lot of it manages to be humorous, kid-friendly obnoxiousness, but sometimes it just reverts to "Why am I watching this?" obnoxiousness. In other words, it's quite on par with what you'll find on the Disney Channel.
But Hilary Duff makes it bearable. She's a pretty good actress, very natural on screen, and she already has a charm that the J.Lo's and Madonnas of the entertainment industry would kill for. (On that note, she seems to have a decent voice, too... Perhaps a Lizzie McGuire CD is next?) Keep an eye on her. She may have a future beyond co-hosting MTV's Punk'd in a whorish, scantily-clad top. Which is more than we can say about some Disney alumnae.
You've got a choice here: What a Girl Wants
, with a somewhat obnoxious lead girl (Amanda Bynes) in a captivating tale, or Lizzie McGuire
, starring the captivating Hilary Duff in an obnoxious tale. Personally, I vote for the former. If you have kids that love The Lizzie McGuire Show on television, take them to this movie. Otherwise, wait for video or skip it altogether.