Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Material Girls

posted by jmiller
F+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for language and rude humor.
Profanity:Some strong language for a PG, including the s-word
Nudity/Sex:References to kissing, wanting to jump on someone
Alcohol/Drugs:Some social drinking, characters smoke
Violence/Scariness:Mild peril, references to sad offscreen death and divorce
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

The problem with a movie about rich people learning about real life that is written by rich people who have no idea about real life is that you end up with something like this — a movie about two rich girls, heirs to a cosmetics fortune, who lose everything, discover what really matters, and end up demonstrating that by making the cosmetics affordable so that prostitutes can buy them.


I’m not kidding. I wish I was.


Real-life sisters Hillary (Lizzie Maguire) and Haylie (Napoleon Dynamite) Duff play Tanzy and Ava Marchetta, whose late father founded a successful cosmetics company. They are due to inherit when they come of age, but his best friend, the current CEO (Brent Spiner) recommends that they sell the company to its rival, run by Fabiella (Anjelica Huston). Before they can agree, a news report that one of the products caused severe skin damage throws the company into chaos. And the girls accidentally burn down their house and turn over their car to someone they assume is a valet but who turns out to be a thief.

They have nowhere to go but the apartment of Inez (Maria Conchita Alonso), their maid.


Ava’s TV star boyfriend dumps her — through his agent. Their fancy party friends don’t want to know them any more. Fabiella makes another offer, much lower. If they sell, the company their father built will no longer exist.


Yes, of course it all turns out fine and there’s a happily ever after ending complete with cute new boyfriends. But on the way there, the movie has a surprising number of bad choices ranging from the odd to the unfortunate, inappropriate, and downright ugly, considering the target audience and the PG rating.


For example, inspired by watching Erin Brocovich, Tanzy uses a skimpy outfit to entice a young man to let her look at some hidden records. She is arrested and put into a cell with three prostitutes who stroke her arm in a menacing fashion — then she turns it all around, using sand caught between the toes of one as she ran from the cops, to by teach them how to exfoliate their skin.


The girls also use some strong language for a PG movie. What is the purpose in a movie like this of a line like “screwier than Courtney Love?” Or “I’m so sorry I slept with your dad?” There is disturbing footage of skin disorders. Most important, the very values the movie purports to communicate are undermined by the approval it expects for its characters’ choices. The great revelations the girls have about the importance of helping the poor are supposed to be shown by their commitment to cheaper cosmetics and arranging for a friend’s children to be allowed into the country.


Superb actors like Anjelica Houston, Obba Babatunde, and Lukas Haas (Witness) are criminally wasted and only make the Duff sisters’ very limited acting skills look even weaker by comparison.


Parents should know that this movie has, as noted, very strong language and references for a PG, including the s-word, a reference to “white trash” (supposed to be funny), jokes about using Preparation H to get rid of eye bags (especially idiotic given that the girls are supposed to know all about cosmetics), “you practically jump each other,” “I heard that on the bus people pee on the seats,” “he was going to go straight for us,” and more. Character (briefly) drink and smoke (though one expresses horror at cigarettes). Characters are prostitutes. Tanzy wears skimpy clothes to get a young man to let her get what she wants. There is a reference to an overdose of birth control pills. A character has a nose job so she can look like Tanzy. Overall, even the supposedly reformed behavior of the girls is not what parents would like their children to imitate.


Families who see this movie should talk about why the girls were so spoiled and inconsiderate. Why does Tanzy say she wished her father had been harder on her? Why does Ava say she didn’t like how hard their father was on her?


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Lizzie Maguire and the much better film Cow Belles.



Previous Posts

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof
The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, "Fiddler on the Roof," which opened fifty years ago this week.

posted 8:00:47am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Great Cinematographers on Instagram
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

De-fictionalizing Products in Movies and Television: Life Imitating Art
Fast Company has an article about Omni Consumer Products, a "de-fictionalizing" company that looks for products in movies and television that do not really exist and makes them available. As the sole proprietor of Omni Consumer Products, [Pete] Hottelet is constantly scanning the pop culture z

posted 8:00:17am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Tusk
You can make a good movie about slackers, for example "Slackers," from Richard Linklater and "Clerks" from Kevin Smith. But you can't make a good movie by a slacker, and Smith does not seem wi

posted 5:59:40pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »

This is Where I Leave You
A toddler carries his little potty out in front of the house so he can try out his new-found skill in public. Twice. Plus another time when the contents of the potty are first displayed for the

posted 5:59:39pm Sep. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.