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It's not uncommon for junior-high graduates to wish for a little something to celebrate their entry into senior high. For many at Lizzie McGuire's (Hilary Duff) school, it will be a bus excursion to a waterslide park. But for the cr0xE8me de la cr0xE8me group of students, it's a trip to Italy to explore works of art - and in Lizzie's case - a new singing career.
Not long after she steps onto the streets of Rome, Lizzie is spotted by Paolo (Yani Gellman), a famous Italian pop star who claims the American girl is the blonde look-alike of his former singing partner. With the duo expected to perform on an upcoming network music awards show, Paolo is desperate to replace his AWOL partner in order to protect her from being sued.
After some smooth talk (with a suspicious Italian accent) from the singer, Lizzie decides to fake an illness in order to be released from the close supervision of Miss Ungermeyer (Alex Borstein), her tour leader and upcoming high school principal (and likely new character for the Lizzie TV series). Willing to work as her cover is the shy and forever love struck Gordo (Adam Lamberg), who would do anything for his classmate in hopes of attracting her admiration. This gives Lizzie the liberty to attend rehearsals with Paolo, who teaches her to be a dancing and lip-synching machine in just a few short lessons.
Concerns for parents won't be found in our usual content categories. The movie is nearly devoid of violence, and only dabbles in adolescent love. But in similar fashion to the television series, Lizzie's first movie has its otherwise polite and polished young characters doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons. There are elements of sacrifice, love, and working together, but many of the difficulties could be avoided if everyone simply told the truth.
Then there's Miss Ungermeyer. A worn-out clich0xE9 of a controlling school administrator, at one point she remarks that the only students able to go to Rome are those who aren't "trailer trash," and also flippantly tells questioning parents to "shut their pie holes."
With a tacked-on "feel good" ending turned music video, it's a shame these positive young role models weren't given a better script that included some consequences for their actions. Instead The Lizzie McGuire Movie offers marginal bubble gum entertainment, which some audiences may view as elitist.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003) is rated PG: for mild thematic elements
Cast: Hilary Duff, Adam Lamberg