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An all singing, all-prancing turkey; cinema.


(PG, 101 mins) Children/Drama/Comedy/Romance/Musical. Skyler Shaye, Janel Parrish, Logan Browning, Nathalia Ramos, Chelsea Staub, Jon Voight, Anneliese Van Der Pol, Malese Jow, Stephen Lunsford, Ian Nelson, Lainie Kazan, Emily Rose Everhard. Director: Sean McNamara.


IF Bratz: The Movie, the first live action film based on the best-selling dolls, truly speaks to the youth of today then we're doomed.

Spouting cheesy platitudes as if they were the most profound universal truths, Sean McNamara's film is a crudely constructed piece of merchandising propaganda, urging its young female audience to become obsessive about make-up and clothes.

As one of the feisty teen heroines puts it: "Work your IQ girl but please don't lose your passion for fashion."

What's the point of being intelligent and sassy if you're not wearing the right lip-gloss or Bratz-licensed accessories? Cloe (Shaye), Jade (Parrish), Sasha (Browning) and Yasmin (Ramos) are BFF - best friends forever - who always put the interests of their group ahead of personal gain.

As they enter freshman year at Carry Nation High School, the girls ruffle the feathers of class president Meredith Baxter Dimly (Staub), daughter of Principal Dimly (Voight), and her entourage including sycophantic hangers-on Avery (Van Der Pol) and Quinn (Jow).

Meredith believes that students should remain in their cliques, a 'flawless' system flouted quite openly by Cloe, Jade, Sasha and Yasmin.

However, the girls soon bow down to Meredith's status quo.

Two years pass and the enormity of the estrangement finally hits the pals: "What happened to us?" they wonder. Cue the birth of the all-singing, all-prancing Bratz.

Railing against insidious peer pressure and prejudice in its many forms, McNamara's film trumpets female empowerment and social harmony, exemplified by the four lead characters who collectively bridge the ethnic, religious and class divides.

Bullies are vanquished by unwavering friendship, individuality trumps conformity, and pipe dreams of fame and fortune are realised with a last gasp performance of girl anthem "Bratitude" at the end of term talent showcase.

Screenwriter Susan Estelle Jansen, who co-wrote The Lizzie McGuire Movie, pilfers flimsy plot strands from countless other superior teen wish fulfilment fantasies, with casual nods to Coyote Ugly and McNamara's previous film, the Hilary Duff straight-to-DVD yawn, Raise Your Vo i c e .

The four leads are bubbly, strutting defiantly in the face of adversity because, as they remind us ad nauseum, they are BFF.

There's no place for subtlety in Carry Nation High. This is BFF - big, fat failure.



SICKLY - Cloe, Yasmin, Sasha and Jade in BRATZ: THE MOVIE
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Movie review
Date:Aug 17, 2007
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