ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  sara sugarman

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  comedy

LENGTH  -  96 minutes

RELEASED  -  20 february 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  walt disney pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  drama queen

confessions of a teenage drama queen - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from confessions of a teenage drama queen at

buy the dvd from confessions of a teenage drama queen at

about a crazy teenager obssessed with drama and making it big as an actress.

the role of lola was first offered to hilary duff.


picture from confessions of a teenage drama queen

picture from confessions of a teenage drama queen

picture from confessions of a teenage drama queen

picture from confessions of a teenage drama queen


two out of four possible stars

In a film which will probably only appeal to the very youngest teenagers, star Lindsay Lohan continues her run in the Walt Disney brand of teen comedic angst films, following a very successful showing in last year's Freaky Friday. Although Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen has much less warmth to recommend it, the film will probably find favor with Lohan's fans. As her film career has seemed to play solely in the hands of the Disney Company, it's expected that they would use her effervescent enthusiasm to anchor their young-skewing films. But Confessions attempts to freshen-up the genre with a strange combination of daydream fantasies and computer generated dream sequences which tend to wear thin quite quickly over the course of the very unsubstantial story.

The lack of appreciable plot is this film's most obvious detour and while 2003's Freaky hovered expertly over the line between plot and character, Confessions seems to head completely into character, leaving ideas of "what are they going to do now" in the dust. While some films can afford to throw plot out the window and focus on plot for the duration, this film is geared toward such a young audience that the lack of familiar structure causes the story and its characters to feel disingenuous. Granted, Lohan's character, "Lola," is a strange one at best (strange in an off-kilter, funky dressing sort of way), but adhering to basic plot guidelines (and that's all they are, really, is guidelines) would have made it easier to focus on a character transformation.

If indeed there had been a character transformation. Because in a strange twist of story, this film seems to want each of its characters, save Lohan's, to adjust and find peace with Lola's quirkiness, rather than forcing Lola into a crisis of character or change of self. Lola is as she ever was by the time the end credits roll, while everyone around her has been transformed in some major or minor way. But unlike the idea of a main character causing joy and welcome change in all those around her (like, for example, the lead character in Amélie), the change forced upon the characters in this film is more of the Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way variety. People change because they have to, not because Lola inspires them to become better people.

It is easy to think her character shallow throughout most of the film and while at one point she attempts to comfort her best friend, "Ella," played by Alison Pill, her character doesn't seem as genuine as it should. She is far too self-serving to show any real appreciation for her friends, teachers, or her parents. Though the typical teen angst, "I hate everybody" mentality can be easily understood by today's audiences, that type of attitude is usually owned by a character that undergoes a fundamental personality change. That character learns to appreciate things other than him or herself. But Lola finds appreciation in no one but herself.

Supporting roles in the film are handled with varying degrees of success, with Glenne Headly performing the role as Lola's mother with heart-felt ease and Adam Garcia playing a drunken rock-star with convincing success. Carol Kane, playing the odd drama teacher, "Mrs. Baggoli," is more annoying that funny, and takes her strange brand of comedy way too far in scenes that should have been more succinctly edited. She plays the stock role with so much insanity that her character really isn't believable and is much more of a caricature of the standard goofy teacher role.

Technical aspects of the film, including the hyper pop-infused soundtrack, are presented with a young audience in mind, with the final sequences of dances during the school musical hitting the high note in the film. The choreography and music are enthusiastic and spirited and have the energy the rest of the picture should have shown. While the fantasy sequences are cute in the beginning of the picture, that playful aspect seems lost in the middle of the film when the plot disappears from view and the film simply focuses on various vignettes involving Lohan's wacky character.

While this film carries with it an admirable enthusiasm, the lack of attention paid to plot cause the film to drag heavily in the middle quarters, making the well-performed musical conclusion a welcome sight. Though all of the characters are played with intelligence by each of the actors, one cannot help but feel the lead protagonist (if indeed Lola can be labeled as such, given her propensity toward annoying the people around her) deserves a good boot in the ass to correct her selfish attitude. Perhaps the title of "Drama Queen" is too fitting a title for the film, as viewers might find too little humor given the lack of attitude adjustment and appreciation for life shown by the lead character.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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