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Dustin Putman

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Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen (2004)
2 Stars

Directed by Sara Sugarman
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Alison Pill, Adam Garcia, Eli Marienthal, Glenne Headly, Carol Kane, Megan Fox, Tom McCamus, Sheila McCarthy, Richard Fitzpatrick
2004 – 86 minutes
Rated: Rated PG (for mild thematic elements and brief language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, February 21, 2004.

Based on the book by Dyan Sheldon, "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" is blessed with a title far exceeding in imagination and possibility what the finished product offers. A fluffy piece of high school-set whimsy aimed at tweeners, the film is full of music and sparkle but low on a plot. For most of its running time, in fact, I was left wondering just what the main story and rooting conflict was supposed to be, and then left disappointed in the knowledge that it wasn't about much at all.

Lola Cep (Lindsay Lohan), whose real name is Mary but believes it to be far too ordinary, is heartbroken when she must move out of her home in Greenwich Village and relocate to the small town of Dellwood, New Jersey. Lola's belief is that it is better to stand out, for better or worse, than to fade into the background, and that is what she sets out to do at her new high school. At odds with prissy and popular classmate Carla Santini (Megan Fox), Lola promptly steals the lead role of Eliza from her in the upcoming production of "Pygmalion," a modern-day reimagining called "Eliza Rocks!" She also finds a kindred spirit in Ella (Alison Pill), who shares her devoted admiration for the rock band Sidarthur and lead singer Stu (Adam Garcia), When it is announced that Sidarthur is breaking up and will perform a farewell concert in the city, Lola and Ella make it their main goal to finally meet their idol.

Directed by Sara Sugarman, "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" is diverting for what it is, but it really isn't much. The plot, which basically chronicles Lola's journey to see Sidarthur mixed with the preparations of the high school production, is one of the flimsier to find its way to the big screen in some time. Watered down to meet the requirements of the Walt Disney label, it lacks conviction and holds few insights on growing up and finding your calling. From the get-go, it is clear that Lola was meant to be a performer (she is dramatic both on and off the stage, hence the title), and so all there is to do is wait around until her climactic moment in the spotlight. When it comes, the results are entertaining and vibrant, with Lola performing a series of musical numbers including the original song,"That Girl," and David Bowie's excellent "Changes," but it simply isn't a strong enough payoff to make up for so much wasted time.

As the colorful Lola, Lindsay Lohan brings believability and sweetness to her quirky role, but the material does not match her more challenging turn in 2003's "Freaky Friday." Still, she is a little more natural and earthy than the Hilary Duff's of the film world, and has the potential for a future in acting ahead of her. Alison Pill (2003's "Pieces of April") is also charming as the uptight Ella, who Lola coaxes into spreading her wings and stop letting people walk all over her. As drama teacher Miss Baggoli, the underrated Carol Kane (2001's "My First Mister") is at her wacky best, even if it is typecasting, and produces the only big laughs the film has. Also in supporting roles are Eli Marienthal (2002's "The Country Bears") as Lola's potential love interest, Sam, and Glenne Headly (2001's "What's the Worst That Could Happen?") in the thankless role of Lola's mom.

There is a place for light, cotton-candy cinema, but "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" is more akin to a feather—veritably weightless. The performances are bright enough, and there are a few creative fantasy sequences that mix animation with visual effects and live-action, but the rest is too ordinary to be worth more than maybe a Disney Channel sitcom. "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" is terminally undemanding fare that will amuse its target audience of pre-teens, but even they are sharper than this movie gives them credit for.
© 2004 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman