Hilary Duff stars in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, alongside all of her co-stars in the original tv show and new characters. This film was released in May 2003 and was the official end of the series, though there would still be episodes of Lizzie McGuire that would air from 2003 to 2004. The film was set in Rome, Italy, and was shot in Rome, Italy.
The opening weekend of the film was number 2 at the box office with 17.3 million dollars. Worldwide, the film made 55 million dollars. It was critically panned, but the movie was made for fans of the show, not for a larger appeal.
The movie got Hilary Duff nominations for Teen Choice Awards and Kids Choice Awards. This would be the departure for Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire, though she would continue to create music and act.
I loved Lizzie McGuire growing up. It has been quite a while since watching the movie. I did originally see it in theaters as a child and was very excited about it. I still have the DVD to this day, so I was very excited to re-watch it as an adult to see what I would remember and what I loved so much about Hilary Duff as Lizzie.
The movie starts by making you believe it is going to be a sci-fi movie with the art style and effects, yet in reality, it is just a ploy from Matt, Lizzie McGuire’s little brother. In the original series, Lizzie is the older sister to Matt, and she has two parents, Sam and Jo. She also has a best friend, Gordo, and classmates throughout. Lizzie is also accompanied by an animated version of her, which is usually her internal monologue.
Lizzie is graduating middle school and is getting ready and, like any 14-year-old girl, she is dancing around her room and singing, to a pratfall, which is very much the comedy style of Lizzie McGuire, physical comedy. This whole movie centers on a two-week trip to Rome, where a middle school is taking every student whose parents agreed, and the others went to a water park. Hmmm, I think I’ll pick Rome over a water park. The chaperones include one of the high school principals. This concept is ridiculous if you really think about it. This would not be the only Disney ridiculous plot point in the movie.
They eventually make it to Rome. It looks as though there are around 20 kids that came on the trip. The classmates include Lizzie’s best friend Gordo, Ethan Craft, and Kate Sanders. There is a romantic plot point between Gordo and Lizzie, which has been looming throughout the original series.
Ms. Ungermeyer, the high school principal, is the tour guide for all of this. While on a trip to the Trevi Fountain, Lizzie meets Paolo, who is a celebrity singer. Paolo believes Lizzie is Isabella because looks the same but a brunette. Paolo is obviously way too old for Lizzie (we find out later he is 17) and is very forward, asking her to come and meet him afterward. How typical Disney of them?
Lizzie is a stupid girl and meets Paolo the next day at the Trevi Fountain. She is a girl, in a strange country, alone and is going with a strange guy who claims he is a celebrity. Doesn’t know his age, or who he really is, but just trusts him. Not something I would recommend in 2003, or now. The soundtrack is great though. I remember getting the soundtrack and loving it, and I enjoyed the songs in the movie.
To continue this ridiculousness, Paolo asks Lizzie to come and pretend to be Isabella, his love and duet partner because Isabella can’t make it, or doesn’t want to. While back in the states, Lizzie’s brother Matt is trying to embarrass her from afar. Paolo takes Lizzie, who they all think is Isabella, shopping. This leads to a hilarious fashion show scene with more physical comedy. Throughout all of this, Gordo is keeping Lizzie’s secret of running away.
Gordo tries to show Lizzie that what she is doing is crazy because she is going to sing at the award show according to a tabloid. All of this happened within 3-4 days of this trip. Paolo seems very shady, which he kind of is, and Gordo is longing for Lizzie. Paolo has a drive with Lizzie talking about the whole situation as they go exploring through Italy. They spend most of the night together. As this is happening, Matt got his parents to fly to Rome because they missed their daughter. This is crazy. Gordo also covers for Lizzie by saying he has been sneaking out, not her.
Lizzie learns to lip-sync and dance to the song they are going to perform! This is crazy. Lizzie realizes Gordo likes her and Lizzie is trying to get him off the flight. Gordo never gets on the flight, but Lizzie doesn’t know that, because Gordo finds the real Isabella, also played by Hilary Duff in a terrible Italian accent.
Things get complicated when Lizzie is missing, her parents are in Rome to find her, Gordo is with Isabella, and tonight is the night Lizzie is singing. This timeline feels like about a week after they got there, which is insane all of this happened within a week. There is a confrontation between Isabella, Gordo, and Lizzie. Though Lizzie doesn’t really want to believe them, begrudgingly she does. Paolo wants to set Isabella up, which is Lizzie.
This leads to the best moment of the movie, where Lizzie gets to sing in front of Ethan Craft, Kate Sanders, all the other kids, her parents, and Ms. Ungermeyer. Paolo gets embarrassed because he actually can’t sing, and the famous line, “Sing to me Paolo,” is said. Lizzie and Isabella get their moment at a European awards show. Hilary Duff and her sister Haylie are actually singing the song together with some voice modulation. Somehow Lizzie’s parents made it from the back of the stadium to the front row, in a 3-minute song, but this entire plot is ridiculous. I’m going to let that one go.
Lizzie becomes this front-page headline in Europe. Lizzie’s parents ground her for the summer. Gordo and Ms. Ungermeyer make up, and Goro gets to stay. Ms. Ungermeyer finds love with Paolo’s bodyguard. Matt tries to sell his embarrassing tapes to people in Europe to blackmail Lizzie. Lizzie and Gordo finally get their moment, a kiss. This is the moment all fans were waiting for. That is the end of the movie.
This movie was more problematic than I remember. It was cute and funny though. Overall, an enjoyable trip down memory lane.
Does it Hold Up?
Problematic, especially for kids now. The movie is beautifully shot though, and the songs are great. So it’s hard to put down bad marks.
It is nostalgic. Anyone who was anyone watched Lizzie back in the day. It brought back so many memories.
If you like this review check out: https://millennialrewind.com/2022/06/10/zenon-girl-of-the-21st-century-the-best-of-the-dcoms-1999/
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