Hilary Duff is the small-town girl who aspires to attend a summer music camp in LosAngeles. Keith David is the gruff father who stands in her way, but only because he loves her somuch. Poignancy is added by the car-accident death of her supportive older brother in the earlygoings. Anyway, off goes Duff, thanks to mother Rita Wilson and cool aunt Rebecca De Mornay,and she has to struggle against the evil sophisticates and snobs to prove herself, but she has helpfrom new frie…ds, boyfriend, and hip professor, all of which leads to a Really Big ProductionNumber.
Wait a minute, you might ask. Haven’t we seen this before? Oh, yes. Many, many times, andmost recently as the “based on a Britney Spears novel” made-for-TV effort Brave NewGirl. Obviously, the Fame paradigm won’t leave us soon. Hilary Duff fans will bewell-served by this, I suppose, but as a film, it’s shamelessly manipulative and quite offensivelywholesome (any movie whose opening shot is of our heroine belting out gospel tunes has mereaching for my gun).
The music sounds like the most bland examples of the current mood in pop, but the mix iscertainly enveloping. If I have a criticism about the mix, it’s that the drums, which are given therear speakers, come through perhaps a bit more strongly than they should. In any event, thesurround is generally enthusiastic in its efforts (if, at times, too much so).
The picture comes in two formats: fullscreen and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The coloursare quite sumptuous, and we have very strong contrasts and blacks here too. No problems withgrain or edge enhancement, either. An utterly superb transfer, in other words.
For the most part, the features are trivial, but one is rather fun. The behind-the-scenesfeaturette is completely disposable promo material (toss this in with the theatrical trailer, alongwith trailers for a bunch of other New Line releases). There are five deleted scenes, an outtakereel, and a strangely pointless montage of the studio orchestra playing while clips from the filmunspool. More clear in its purpose is the video for Duff’s song “Fly.” The most interestingfeature here is the “Interactive Jam,” which asks viewers to select an instruments and backingtracks and create their own song (which is then critiqued by an audio professor). This isn’texactly a complete mixing studio, but it has a certain educational aspect, and should keep theyounger set amused. There are also some DVD-ROM features. The menu’s main screen isanimated and scored, and the intro and transitions (which are annoyingly long) are animated.
Oh, listen to the old curmudgeon, raining on the cutie’s parade. Well, so what. I’m fed up tohere with this storyline.
Special Features List
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Orchestra Sequence
- “Fly” Music Video
- Interactive Jam
- DVD-ROM Features