Monday, March 28, 2016
WHY DO I OWN THIS?: Confessions of a Teeange Drama Queen (2004)
Lindsay Lohan was the biggest teen star in America. Currently, we associate Lohan with the expediency and grandness of her very public burn-out. Her hard partying ways combined with increasingly poor career decisions destroyed Lohan’s image almost overnight. Now, when she’s thought of at all, it’s as an almost archetypal product of what too much fame, too soon, can do to someone. Before any of that, Lohan was a rising teen idol and a genuine box office draw. The critical and commercial success of the “Freaky Friday” remake had made Lindsay hip but wholesome, sexy but sensible. (At least, it appeared that way.) After that star-making role but before starring in enduring cult classic “Mean Girls,” Lohan appeared in routine Mouse House programmer “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.” It’s hardly a memorable or remarkable film so why do I own it?
Mary Elizabeth’s mom has moved her from her hip home in Manhattan to a suburban New Jersey community. Mary doesn’t take too kindly to this. She’s a fifteen year old girl with an obsession with the boy band Sidarthur, aspirations of being an actress, and a tendency towards fantasies and lies. Most indicative of this is her preference towards the name “Lola.” That boy band is important, as it allows Mary-Lola to immediately bond with Ella, an outsider at her new school. When Sidarthur suddenly breaks up, Ella and Lola throw together a crazy plan to see the band’s final performance. Meanwhile, Lola competes with the high school’s local queen bitch for the lead role in the school’s production of “Pygmalion.”
Despite attempting to hand out important life messages, “Confessions of a Teenage Dram Queen” still frequently plays out like the ridiculous fantasies of a teenage drama queen. In the course of her journey towards self-respect, Lola still encounters her pop star idol, gets close to him, and ends the movie with a hot boyfriend. At least some of that is pretty unlikely. Despite being a small town high school in New Jersey, Lola’s high school is enormous. The budget for the drama department must be huge, as the climatic school play features multiple dancers, an orchestra, elaborate costume changes, moving sets, and synchronized dance numbers. Even more noticeably then that is the costumes. Every single teenage girl in this movie dresses like a Hollywood movie star. There’s short skirts, scarfs, mesh tops, stockings, tight dresses, elaborate head wear, and countless accessories. Not only are many of these outfits inappropriate for high school, I doubt teenagers could afford most of them.
Alison Pill plays Ella, bringing far more quirky energy then you’d expect to a minor part. Pill has solid chemistry with Lindsay, making for believable best friends. Less impressive is Megan Fox, as Lola’s rival and resident evil girl Carla. Fox exhibits all the range she would later in her career. That is to say, not very much. She’s flat and bitchy, perfectly hatable but lacking any depth or energy. Also watch out for a slumming, over-the-top Carol Kane as the drama teacher.
Disney was nice enough to at least get a female director for “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.” Sarah Sugarman, also an actress and a regular in Alex Cox’s movies, previously directed “Very Annie Mary,” a similarly themed British coming-of-age dramedy. Like that film, “Confessions” is at least partially a musical. As an inevitable testing ground for Lohan’s Disney-approved pop star career, Lindsay bleats out a few musical numbers. Among the bubblegum pop pap are some barely passable covers of Bowie and Kool and the Gang. There’s also a ridiculous dance-off, set around a very unrealistic DDR arcade game. Sugarman’s direction is colorful. Lola's frequent flights of fancy are smartly realized to match her scrap book fantasies. Sometimes, Sugarman’s work borders on the overdone, such as her overuse of zooms and dutch angles. Still, the film’s visuals are one of the few interesting things about it.
The tight outfits she wears in this film certainly don’t do a disservice to her curvaceous, toned body. Watching the film now, knowing what would become of Lindsay, “Confessions” instead becomes a time capsule of a once promising actress before she sadly self-destructed. That makes the movie kind of depressing and doesn’t change its thoroughly mediocre script and story. Whatever nostalgia I may have for Lindsay’s hot bod doesn’t truly justify my ownership of this film. [5/10]