New York City teenager Lola is finding it hard to adjust to the quiet suburbs of New Jersey. But with auditions for the school musical approaching and her favourite rock group about to play their final concert, she seizes the chance to grab the limelight
With the recent remake of Freaky Friday, Lindsay Lohan proved that she could pull off tricky parts with aplomb. But, if anything, she faces a tougher challenge here. Convincing us that she's a 45 year-old trapped in a 15 year-old's body is one thing. Making us warm to a character as vapid and self-obsessed as Lola Cep is quite another, and not even she can save this ill-conceived 'tween' flick.
When a lead character is egotistical enough to declare that she's "a flamingo among pigeons", it's usually a safe bet that the stage is set for a story of redemption. That's not the case here. By the time the credits roll, Lola is still every bit as vain; only now everyone else has come round to her skewed point of view.
Nor is there character development elsewhere. Her plain best friend exists solely to be taught the value of being cool – and to make her look hotter. Her hunky love interest stands awkwardly in the background, waiting for his cue to provide a neat resolution at the end. Neither one has a shred of backstory or anything to say which doesn't relate directly to Lola.
An attempt at a fish-out-of-water storyline is also handled ineptly. A big deal is made of Lola's move from hip and happening New York to a 'sleepy' town in New Jersey, but any effort to contrast two different ways of life is abandoned almost immediately as director Sugarman deploys breakdancers, state-of-the-art arcade machines and – in the ludicrous musical finale – more hi-tech laptops than you would see at NYU. It's a lazy way to keep kids from nodding off and makes the girls' inevitable trip to the big city lose much of its impact.
Some fleeting moments of relief are provided by Adam Garcia, appearing as a debauched rock star who doesn't live up to Lola's lofty ideals. And, despite being subjected to some of the worst voice dubbing in film history, Lohan at least gets to showcase some serious talent for busting dance moves. She's badly miscast (a younger actress may have made the character's shortcomings more palatable), but about the only reason to sit through this shallow tale.
A self-absorbed sugar rush of a movie, this might please small girls but will leave a sour taste in everyone else's mouth. Lola deserves detention; Lohan deserves better.
Reviewed by Nick De Semlyen