Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (July 16/04)
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is unapologetically geared towards the tween crowd, all other audiences be damned. Unlike star Lindsay Lohan's last film, Freaky Friday, there's not a whole lot here for viewers over a certain age (let's say, oh, 14) to embrace. Yes, Lohan does possess a certain amount of talent and charisma, but director Sara Sugarman doesn't allow her to do much else other than pout and chew the scenery (which she does fairly well, but still).
The film casts Lohan as Lola, a melodramatic teenager with a flair for concocting outrageous stories (ie she tells everyone that her very-much-alive father died after crashing into a pizza truck while delivering flowers on a motorcycle). The film opens with Lola forced to move from New York City to New Jersey with her mother (played by Glenne Headly), a transition she's not exactly thrilled about. At her new school, she quickly becomes friends with Ella (Alison Pill) - a social outcast who finds Lola's over-the-top demeanor intriguing. After learning their favorite band is about to give their final performance before breaking up, Lola and Ella hatch a scheme to make their way to the concert - which happens to be in New York City.
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen is appropriately quirky and colorful, ensuring that the film's target demographic will find nothing here to complain about. Yet even at a running time of 90 minutes, there's no denying that the movie often feels much longer - a problem exacerbated by a distinct lack of plot. Screenwriter Gail Parent (working from Dyan Sheldon's novel) peppers the story with cute little vignettes that never add up to much, though she does afford Lohan several opportunities to sing (something that would generally be an annoyance, but here such moments are a welcome relief).
Lohan delivers a performance that's just as bubbly as we've come to expect from her, but the real find here is Alison Pill. Pill displays an unexpected amount of range and certainly deserves better material than this. The film, shot in Toronto, also features a number of familiar Canadian faces in supporting roles, with I Love a Man in Uniform psycho Tom McCamus playing Lola's father - a disturbing casting choice that's good for a chuckle here and there.
Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen concludes with the various characters learning a valuable lesson, making this just the sort of entertainment little girls will eat up with a spoon. It's a shame, though, that Parent and Sugarman didn't feel compelled to include elements designed to appeal to the rest of us.