I can’t get any of my girlfriends to go see Monte Carlo with me.
It’s not because it looks like its tailor made for the younger, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber-obsessed set. Or that it stars two of our biggest current fictional frenemies: Blair Waldorf (uh, Leighton Meester) and Selena Gomez (a.k.a. the pretty girl who’s dating Justin Bieber). No, the real reason my friends aren’t willing to take the two-hour trip to Monte Carlo is because they feel it is a rip-off of the most important movie of our tweenage lives: The Lizzie McGuire Movie. And they’re totally right!
In case you are not familiar with the film or the Disney Channel show that inspired it, let me give you a way-quick low down. The show, which ran from 2001-2004, was about a popularity-obsessed teenage klutz (Hilary Duff) and her equally offbeat best friends Gordo (Adam Lamberg) and Miranda (Lalaine). Story lines included first kisses, rhythmic gymnastics, her brother Matt and his strangely mute friend Lanny, how to get your mom to buy you bedazzled jeans and the allure of Frankie Muniz. In case you were wondering, it was the best show ever created.
Seeing as the 2003 film of the near-same name marked the end of the series, it was bound to be pretty damn awesome. And oh, was it ever. Put your tray tables in their upright positions, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to embark on a Vespa-riding, private couture fashion-show-filled journey of self-discovery in which a certain fair-haired heroine is mistaken for – and then takes on the life of – an Italian pop star! In other words, Monte Carlo – with singing! (HILARY SHOULD SUE!)
- The film kicks off with a fake spy movie fake-out involving Matt’s latest high-tech prank. And you know what that means? NO NEON-COLOURED BUBBLE LETTER TITLE CARD!
- They actually want us to believe that the majority of Lizzie’s classmates would have chosen spending a day on a bus going Water Slide Wonderland over spending a week in a foreign country without their parents? As if!
- The actress who played Miranda, Lizzie’s partner in irrationally stressing out and fashion crime, is totally MIA. Apparently, Lalaine (yes, that’s her name) was too busy starting her singing career (?!) to make it out for this G-rated party. And this is the only lame on-screen explanation we get for it:
- This brief convo is the last we hear of dear Miranda. She doesn’t even get a mention in Lizzie’s imaginary International Music Video Award acceptance speech! (And yes, you those weird Lizzie cartoons that awkwardly narrated the series are still very alive and very annoying.)
- Gordo’s love for Lizzie reaches Duckie Dale levels of semi-charming creepiness at times. Prime example: As he leans over to listen to a song with her on her headphones, he mutters, “You use scented soap, huh?”
- “No, Lizzie. I didn’t watch you accidentally fall asleep on my shoulder for an hour.”
- It takes a whopping 90 minutes for Gordo and Lizzie to finally “make-out.” And when they do they act all awkward and shy, like they’re just realizing they like each other. Meanwhile, on the series finale, which seemingly precedes this, they shared a more-than-friendly class picture peck!
- Did I mention the story revolves around how much Lizzie looks like an Italian pop star named Isabella? Cause it does. And there are superbly staged posters to prove it!
WHY IT’S AWESOME!:
- Did I mention the story revolves around how much Lizzie looks like an Italian pop star? named Isabella?! CAUSE IT DOES.
- Did I also mention that Hilary Duff plays both parts? And that means she has to attempt to imitate an Italian accent?
- The movie’s first lines, spoken by Matt in reference to putting a hidden camera on a toy car and sending it off to spy on Liz: “Some say juvenile. I say, genius!” I’m not sure if I’ve seen a more perfectly poignant opening.
- After hearing that magnificently metaphorical quote, we are taken into Lizzie’s bedroom , where she’s having a getting-dressed montage and a singing-into-my-hairbrush montage – at the same time! GENIUS IS RIGHT!
- At one point, Lizzie does a random celebratory cartwheel in the street And then she channels her inner Carrie Bradshaw/Gay BFF and yells, “Goodbye Lizzie McGuire! Hello, fabulous!”
- As if they’re trying to making up for not making the title card ridiculous and awesome, the rest of the credits are either done in Comic Sans, Impact or some other Grade 7 approved font, or animated and made to be part of mini cartoon sketches with mini cartoon Lizzie.
- The soundtrack is filled with mediocre covers of classic songs including Vitamin C’s version of “Volare,” Atomic Kitten’s take on “The Tide is High” and worst (Or is it best?) of all – Taylor Dayne’s version of RuPaul’s “Supermodel.”
- This is the film that started Hilary Duff’s singing career, giving us her first big single “Why Not?” Not familiar with it? You should be. I mean, clearly Avril Lavigne is. “What the Hell” is totally a slutty rip-off. (Again, HILARY SHOULD SUE!)
- This is Lizzie’s big love interest. His name is Paulo and he’s her Euro dance pop doppelganger’s duet partner. Shocking, I know.
- Lizzie actually gets some decent outfits here. Not just ones that only seemed cool to girls who were a bit too old to buy Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Walmart clothing line but still did (a.k.a NOT me).
- On second thought…
- There is an extended joke about a large wheel of cheese. No joke.
- The movie’s “villain” (at least for the first half) is a stout, snarky American tour guide named Miss Ungermeyer. And she’s played by character actor Alex Borstein, who you may know as Lois Griffin or Miss Swan. Here, she’s simply Gordo’s mortal enemy.
- This conversation between Kate and Ethan Craft – the series’ on-again-off-again popular couple.
ETHAN: When are we going to eat spaghetti?
KATE: Its like nine in the morning.
E: So what? You’ve never had spaghetti for breakfast before?
K: I don’t eat carbs!
E:So I suppose you’ve never had a spaghetti sandwich before?
- Lizzie literally gets a lipsync lesson! (And no, that’s not just an awesome tongue twister I just made up.)
- Lizzie’s eventual makeover scene – the aforementioned private couture fashion show – plays out like a premonition of every failed Lady Gaga fitting. Dresses are too tight to walk in. Fabric light installations get unplugged. Ragged edges are frayed by mini dogs. Igloo dresses happen.
- Lizzie, responding to the fireworks exploding above her (and Paolo’s) head: “This is so beautiful!” Paolo, responding to his the fireworks exploding below his belt: “Yes, you are.”
- Gordo may have the most perfect Jewfro ever.
- Despite the slight stalker scares explained above, Lizzie and Gordo really are adorable together. Case in point:
- All Isabella’s singing is done by Hilary’s sister and Material Girls co-star, Haylie Duff!
- THIS is what dreams….are made of!