Aimed all too squarely at the teenage-girl set, the provocatively titled Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is going to let down anyone who was agreeably surprised by Lindsay Lohan’s previous film, Freaky Friday. In fact, Drama Queen is so squarely aimed at the post-pubescent set that I’m guessing its appeal will be greatest with slightly younger girls — those, say, who are just dying to be teenagers.
Lohan is good; she has the capacity to turn into a major star in a few years. I’m even inclined to agree with the kids posting on the Internet Movie Database message boards that she could beat the crap out of Hillary Duff in a grudge match; she certainly beats her to pieces as a screen presence. What’s wrong here is the movie — and even it isn’t bad.
Drama Queen is just too bland, and the sitcom-groomed hand of TV writer Gail Parent is everywhere in evidence. Parent worked on some of the idiot box’s better sitcoms (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, The Golden Girls), and that, too, is evident in some of her dialogue. Still, her storytelling is pure 30-minutes-including-commercials mindset, with everything tied in a neat, clean package by the end.
Lohan plays Mary Cep, a supposedly worldly wise Greenwich Village teenager who wants to be called Lola (“I’ve known I was a Lola ever since I was 5″). Mary’s world is shattered when her mother (Glenne Headly) moves the family to an upscale New Jersey community. (Why mom does this — and then proceeds to flaunt her standard Greenwich Village ways — is never really explained.) Lola/Mary then has to prove herself in her new world, which she does through a combination of genuine talent and a tendency toward self-dramatizing prevarication. The results are everything you’d expect.
Well, maybe you wouldn’t quite expect a musical updating of Pygmalion (presided over by a truly scary-looking Carol Kane, and incorporating a performance of David Bowie’s “Changes” and a giant, flying George Bernard Shaw head), but plot-wise, it’s pretty familiar stuff.
Still, given the choice, watch Freaky Friday — again. If not given the choice, you can at least take heart that Drama Queen is pretty good when put up against, say, Welcome to Mooseport.
— reviewed by Ken Hanke