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Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen

It's bad enough that Mary Cep (Lindsay Lohan) has to move from her midtown digs in Manhattan to Dellwood, New Jersey. What's worse is that all of the cool girls at her new school hate her — in part, because they think New Yorkers are overly pretentious, but also because Mary is a bit of a phony. The sort of teenager who's convinced that she's destined for a lucrative acting career, Mary insists that everyone call her 'Lola', and she says very little about her personal life. New friend Ella (Alison Pill) comes from a different background, with staunchly conservative parents who don't know what to make of Mary's eccentric mother Karen (Glenne Headly), a single mom who doesn't approve of microwaves, among other things. But two events soon transform Mary/Lola's senior year at Dellwood High — a musical update of Pygmalion (called "Eliza Rocks") is slated to be the school's drama production, and rock band Sidarthur breaks up, leaving Mary heartbroken over the love of her life, lead singer Stu Wolff (Adam Garcia). And Mary finds herself in competition with class bitch Carla (Megan Fox) in both regards: The girls hope to win the coveted part of Eliza in the play, and they also hope to get one foot in the door at Stu Wolff's farewell party in his trendy SoHo loft. After rocketing to the A-list with the success of Freaky Friday and then Mean Girls, 17-year-old Lindsay Lohan found herself the leading lady of Hollywood's coveted 13-24 female demographic (not to mention several Internet "countdown clocks" poised to strike when her status as a minor lapses). And her appeal isn't too hard to understand — apple-cheek-cute and a natural in front of the camera, for the time being she's become the antidote to Britney Spears, with an iconographic appeal that doesn't leverage a certain amount of promiscuity in the process. And that's the sort of thing that makes parents (and media corporations) a little more comfortable. After all, would you rather send your teenage daughter to Christina Aguilera concert or to a movie so harmless it might as well be packed in styrofoam peanuts? Unfortunately, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2003) isn't the sort of project that can prove if Lohan has any broader appeal outside of the tween/teen set. The best high-school comedies tend to have a universal quality that folks of all ages can enjoy, thanks to generous amounts of risqué humor and dime-novel romance. But the lack of sophistication here means that Confessions probably won't resonate with many women past their 20s, and its claw-marked tale of competitive girls will leave a lot of guys simply scratching their heads or looking for something else to do. That said, young girls who are in the crosshairs of this Disney midlist's target demo probably will want to own this DVD, and they'll watch it a lot. The soundtrack features plenty of bouncy, bubblegum pop, the outfits and art direction are sharp and colorful, and Adam Garcia as boozy rocker Stu Wolff is charming and funny. As for Lohan, this is the sort of project that will continue to salt away the mother of all college funds. But it's only a matter of time before she'll have to prove if she can act her way out of what's starting to look like a very profitable pigeonhole. Disney's DVD release of Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen features a solid transfer, with both anamorphic (1.85:1) and full-frame options on a single-sided disc, while the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio handles the movie's bright score with ease. Supplements include a commentary with director Sara Sugerman, scenarist Gail Parent, and producers Robert Shapiro and Jerry Leider, the featurette "Confessions from the Set" (6 min.), a deleted scene, and Lohan's music video of "That Girl." Keep-case.

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