Hilary Duff vehicle Material Girls hit theatres in August 2006, and failed miserably. That fact was my only comfort while I wasted 98-minutes of my life watching this movie.
I fully expected to dislike this teeny-bop flick, but I was actually surprised by just how bad it actually was. Hilary Duff and sister Haylie probably wish they’d never made this movie, though I imagine the paycheck would make up for this blotch on their filmography. I’m hoping the same is true for Angelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums) and Brent Spiner (Star Trek’s Data), who play cringe-worthy supporting roles.
So what’s so wrong with this movie? The story, for starters. The obvious qualities are its totally clichÃ© characters, ridiculously poor dialogue and big plot holes. I don’t know if it was problem with film editing or what, but at several points I turned to my wife – who decided to join me in watching this ass-clown of a movie – and asked, “what just happened? Am I missing something?” See, the movie skips a lot of stuff, especially toward the end. Out of nowhere, the girls end up with their amorous interests. I don’t mean this result is a surprise, because of course we all expect this to happen, but just because it’s a done deal does not mean the film can gloss over the whole “how they resolve their conflicts and get together” part. But that’s exactly what happens!
Oh, right, you might want to know what the movie is about. Two spoiled-rich daughters of a deceased cosmetics company pioneer lose everything due to a competitor’s conspiracy to discredit their late father and the company he founded. With no money to hire lawyers or private investigators, the girls secure the services of one of those lawyers for poor people, and head on their own to investigate Erin-Brokovich style. They do it all without the help of their superficial friends who disown them in the wake of bad press resulting from their fall from the A-list. Not to worry, the whole experience helps the girls discover who their true friends are, and learn the value of hard work, perseverance and a push-up bra.
I’d hate to waste any more space writing about this film atrocity, so let’s move on to the DVD.
Material Girls is presented on one double-sided disc, with 1.33:1 full-screen video on one side, and 1.85:1 widescreen on the other. I watched the widescreen version, but a cursory review of the full-screen presentation showed it was of very similar quality. The transfers look just fine, with good contrast, bright colours, sharp picture and no discernable compression issues.
The main menu is animated, and scored.
The main audio presentation is Dolby Digital 5.1, and it sounds fine. All dialogue is clear, the soundtrack fills things out a bit, and any effects are well-placed. No complaints here.
Subtitles are available in English and Spanish.
Material Girls offers up a smattering of bonus material, with an audio commentary, two featurettes and a music video, spread out on both sides of the disc.
The commentary by director Martha Coolidge (Out to Sea) is available on either side of the disc. Coolidge takes her work seriously, as this track sounds just like most other commentary tracks, with various tidbits on production, casting, etc. It’s of average quality.
On side A, we have Cast of Characters: The Making of Material Girls, which runs about 10 minutes. It gets behind the scenes a bit with cast and crew interviews, and really plays up just how much fun the sisters have on screen and off. At least someone had fun with this movie.
Flipping to side B, there’s Getting to Know Hilary and Haylie as The Marchetta Sisters, a nine-minute featurette about the Duff sisters and their favourite moments on-screen and off. Worth a look for pre-teen Duff fans.
Finally, we have Hilary Duff “Play With Fire”, a music video. Now I know why Hilary is so rich and famous – this video is incredible! Well, not really, but I suppose her fans will be delighted to have this on DVD.
While I hated this movie, I do realize I am far, far from its target audience. Fans of the Duff sisters, particularly of the pre-teen variety, will likely enjoy this movie. Lucky for them, the DVD presentation is pretty solid.