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Friday, February 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By Moira Macdonald
Don't be fooled by the title "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" this Lindsay Lohan vehicle isn't a teen movie at all. As the flamboyant high-school dreamer Lola, Lohan is the 15-year-old girl that 10-year-old girls dream of becoming. She wears fabulously eccentric clothes, acts dramatic and gets the boy she wants with minimal fuss boys, after all, aren't high on the priority lists of grade-school girls. Like "The Princess Diaries," this story of a teenager is really aimed at little girls, those young enough to dream of standing out, rather than fitting in.
And, though "Confessions" is a jumbled mess of a movie, it'll suit its giggly audience just fine. All the standard messages are there: believe in yourself, love your family and your friends, be nice to everyone, and good things will come to you. Lohan, whose effortless star quality was most recently on display in "Freaky Friday," has a squeaky, nice-girl vibe here that's charming, and she can spin a comic line like nobody's business. "If everyone gave up," she tells a friend, trying to encourage her to go on, "there'd be ... no electricity, and no TiVo!" Well, she's right.
Lola (who hates her real name, Mary), as the movie begins, is being uprooted from her beloved Manhattan to New Jersey, where she must make new friends and cope with a rather more conventional life. Worse, the rock band she lives for has announced its breakup. All this makes the movie sound like it might have a plot, though it really doesn't. "Confessions" is more a string of unrelated scenes about the high-school musical (an updated version of "Pygmalion" called "Eliza Rocks"), the band's final concert, some random moments in which some standard-issue popular girls are mean to Lola, and Lola's active fantasy life.
Characters are dropped in and out of the movie, almost nonsensically in particular, the cute boy (Eli Marienthal) who likes Lola is only trotted out when needed and otherwise doesn't exist. Likewise, Lola's dad (Tom McCamus) is in the film on an as-necessary basis. But some quirky performances shine through, most notably Carol Kane as the drama teacher, whose voice slips around like some strangely haunted trombone. "George Bernard Shaw was a great playwright," she tells the kids, "and a vegetarian."
"Confessions" features some colorful, part-animation fantasy sequences that hint at an offbeat imagination perhaps Welsh director Sara Sugarman, making her studio-film debut lurking somewhere among the pop songs and teenspeak. (In one, Lola becomes Marilyn Monroe; in another, she's Audrey Hepburn from "Breakfast at Tiffany's.") And there's an overall sweetness throughout. "When you're happy," says Lola at the end, "the whole world's New York." It's a nice message, for any age.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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