The Lizzie McGuire Movie premiered in 2003, when I was either in fifth or sixth grade. This was also the year, coincidentally, that I took a trip with my children’s choir to Rome, Italy. So, tonight, I decided to revisit my old friends and memories from my days as a child soprano and watch The Lizzie McGuire movie in order to see just how well it would stand the test of time. Spoiler alert: it totally stands the test of time. I put in my DVD (yeah, I purchased this, albeit years ago), and instantly was asked whether I would like to view this gem in widescreen or full screen and obviously full screen. A cinematic masterpiece such as this does not deserve to have any content cut off on the sides to better fit a standard 2003 television. So I click “Widescreen” and I am instantly transported into some sort of CIA film. The credits are rolling and all of the names are displayed with flashing red and blue lights to represent sirens. Then, we’re instantly transported to a covert operation and we scan in on what I think is a camcorder, but I can’t be sure because I am under 30, but there is a tape in the mystery machine that has the word “Blackmail” written on it in penmanship exclusively reserved for children pre-handwriting class or serial murderers. We quickly find out that the master of this operation is Lizzie’s younger brother, Matt, whose name I did not instantly remember. He sends in a remote control car to Lizzie’s room that we come to find out has some weird camera capabilities, but what about the camcorder? I don’t know, but the credits continue and Lizzie is dancing and she’s all of a sudden in a terrible hat and singing into a round brush, so I absolutely think this film will be used in the future to accurately represent teenagers in the early 2000s. We’re led to believe that this scene is all about Lizzie picking out an outfit for her graduation all while her little brother is watching–wait, what? First of many instances where I believe whatever the porn version of this family film did not have to adapt much of the story. We’re also introduced to Animated Lizzie in this sequence, a character all her own, that quite literally cannot do anything right ever. She’s apparently supposed to represent Lizzie’s inner thoughts, and if that’s the case, Lizzie has some things to work through. Anyway, we’re at graduation now and Lizzie is wearing quite possibly the tallest platform sandals legally available for sale. Her parents are there–her mother is mostly her hairstyle, which is also quintessentially early 00’s, better known as bobby pins galore. Her father is the closest they could get to Jeff Goldblum without actually paying Goldblum prices. We spot Gordo for the first time and immediately establish that MIRANDA IS IN MEXICO CITY. My god, apparently Lalaine had a lot going on during this film, because who in good conscious would pass on being a part of this film?
So, more exposition happens and the fabulous Mr. Escobar approaches Lizzie and tells her Margaret Chan has ebola, which shocked me, because who knew this movie would be so relevant to this exact day? I told you it stands the test of time. Long story short, Lizzie has to give a speech at graduation and no one at all is happy about it. Even as she starts her speech, the entire audience is pissed about it, because they were promised Chan! There’s even a poster of Margaret Chan! How disappointing! Well Lizzie ruins the entire ceremony. She just has to get water mid-speech and falls over and takes the curtain with her and the entire graduating class is covered in Lizzie’s mistakes. Well, we’re instantly thrown into the airport where we are introduced to Ms. Ungermeyer, also known as the loudest woman alive who truly has nothing to say. Also, we’re made aware that there were two options for the class trip and they were Rome, Italy and a waterpark and for some reason, Lizzie chose Rome. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb dumb. Anyway, we come to find out that Ungermeyer and Gordo do not get along. Not at all. So, suddenly we find out that the waterpark trip was cancelled and those kids just had to go to Rome, so Kate, the bitch, walks in and she is dressed as a first lady in a powder pink skirt suit. Then, all of a sudden, we’re on the plane and Lizzie and Gordo are having so much fun, though they don’t have cell phones, so honestly what were they doing for a full fourteen hours? Then we land in Rome, just like that, and it’s sunset. Then we’re in a bus and it’s completely dark outside, and then in just a mere moment, we’re on the roof of the hotel and it’s still light outside. CONTINUITY, PEOPLE, PLEASE. Sorry, sorry, I got excited and skipped the greatest line in film history. “We serve at a-five the cookies.” Kate and Lizzie are forced to room together due to the Unsinkable Margaret Chan and her ebola and for some reason, Kate has changed into a completely separate pant suit, but now is also wearing pearls and driving gloves. You know, like every fourteen year old girl. Now, we’re on the roof with Gordo and Lizzie and they make a promise to each other that this trip will be all about finding adventures. Mind you, this trip is only two weeks long, as Lizzie made abundantly clear to her weeping mother as they dropped her off at the airport.
Immediately cut to the Trevi fountain where Gordo tells Lizzie he doesn’t need a wish (Gordo, get real), so Lizzie makes a wish all on her own–closes her eyes and then, suddenly, everything changes. She opens her eyes and in front of her stands a man who is only eyebrows and a strong shirt collar. This man is Paulo, her destiny. He recognizes her, but she doesn’t recognize her. THE CORE CONFLICT OF THE FILM, SURELY. Well, I found out this evening that there are about seventeen core conflicts in this film, none of which actually gets resolved. But, I digress. Paulo chases Lizzie through the streets, also known as stalking in America, and they end up at a gelato shop where their only fans happen to be next to and these fans run up to Paulo and “Isabella”, the girl that Paulo mistakes Lizzie for. Well, it would have been an uneventful scene had Lizzie not been given a giant wheel of cheese, oh, and also I guess, an invitation from Paulo to meet back at the Trevi fountain in the morning. Enter the section of the movie I like to call the “Italian Transportation” section. Lizzie plays sick and is able to sneak off and meet up with Paulo where they go on the single longest moped ride there has ever been. Were this not a movie, that moped would have needed to refuel minimum four times to cover the area that Lizzie and Paulo were able to cover that day. Oh, but let’s not forget that even Animated Lizzie is on this moped ride! And she even has her own moped! Which of course she’s crashing, because she’s a mess and a half.
We suddenly cut back to the scenic McGuire household and learn that apparently Matt and his friend Melina are plotting something for Lizzie. They even use the internet, though when they show a webpage, it is shown on Windows 97, so I don’t hold out much hope for their ability to use the internet to their advantage.
We’re back in Rome and Paulo and Lizzie are still riding on this moped. But, oh no! The bus with her classmates and the wicked Ungermeyer are right behind her! Surely, they’ll be able to recognize her back! Absolutely not. She freaks out, unnecessarily, and Gordo tries to create a diversion, but if Ungermeyer had been staring straight at Lizzie for the entire scene, there is still no way she would have known that it was her. Lizzie gets away though! Phew, I guess. Lizzie and Paulo jet off to a lovely little outdoor cafe and Paulo tells Lizzie the real reason that he asked Lizzie to drive around for hours and hours and hours today: Paulo and Isabella have been nominated for Best Pop Duo again. How many pop duos are there in Italy? Is this a standard musical grouping? So, Paulo and Isabella are meant to present at the International Music Video Awards and Lizzie quite immediately agrees to it. Seems like a rational decision. Lizzie meets up with Gordo back at the hotel and he acts as the voice of reason and basically warns Lizzie about this guy potentially being a creep. He gets friend zoned, hard, though, perhaps another core conflict of the film?
Then, we’re back with Matt and Melina and they are on Italian Yahoo. Hmm, maybe I did underestimate their computer skills. I probably wouldn’t even be able to find Italian Yahoo today, and I have Siri on my side.
Back to Rome, Lizzie plays sick again, blah blah blah. Then, we’re on another moped ride. My god, Lizzie must be bored of this by now. But, wait, here comes THE BEST SCENE OF THE MOVIE: the outfit scene. Is that the best name for it? I don’t know, but it’s the most obviously descriptive, so I’m going to stick with it. The following will be a description of the outfits that Lizzie tries on with no embellishment. I want to write as truthfully as I can about what these outfits actually are. Outfit #1: Aluminum Foil Dress, Magazine on Head, Styrofoam Peanuts hanging from Headpiece Outfit #2: Electric BeeHive which only operates with rather short extension chord. Outfit #3: Black Toilet Paper haphazardly sewn together into a dress that is unraveled by a terrible dog and leaves Lizzie spinning on the runway. Outfit #4: Inflatable Igloo, White Lipstick Outfit #5: Green Marie Antoinette, Skirt that acts as blinds that work when two strings, found in headpiece, are pulled. You know, the classics. Well, Lizzie is having none of this and requests to make her own outfit. We’ll see how this turns out. So, we’re going to rush through this part a little bit, because it’s honestly the same as above, but with different hairstyles and different platform sandals. Basically, Gordo learns that Lizzie is going to have to sing at this Awards show.
Paulo invites Lizzie to go on a quick trip to Tivoli, which is definitely not local, and amidst all of this Matt convinces his parents really quickly that he misses his sister and the three of them immediately jump on a plane to go to Rome. Uh, excuse me, McGuires? Could I have a little of your disposable income? Pretty please? There’s some fireworks (like literal fireworks) and Lizzie and Paulo hold hands and she’s super okay with performing in front of an international audience, and now it’s time to rehearse for the show. So, Lizzie learns to lip-sync from Paulo by really singing, though how she doesn’t question his not real singing, I’m not sure. Another core conflict perhaps? YES, THE ACTUAL CORE CONFLICT I’M PRETTY SURE. They rehearse some dance moves, which are only shimmying and step touching, so in essence I could be a convincing Isabella. During this rehearsal at a beautiful theatre where the Awards are in fact not taking place, Gordo takes the fall for Lizzie and convinces Ungermeyer that he’s been sneaking out every day and he is immediately sent home. Though, I’m questioning how this school is able to afford a same day flight change, although this is the same school that equated waterparks and Rome, so I should stop asking questions now. Lizzie finds out Gordo is gone and she is absolutely crushed. Doesn’t stop her from going to the Awards Show though! In fact, her performance will be in remembrance of Gordo. How sweet. Again, I will skip, because we’re all here for the same thing–the show stopping performance of “What Dreams Are Made Of”. Paulo is the one who really can’t sing, Isabella is recruited by Gordo and they save the day, Lizzie is completely fine with singing in front of this many people. Those are just the high points, I tell ya. Oh, also, Ungermeyer kicked the crap out of some security guards so now the McGuires and Ungermeyer and I would assume the rest of Lizzie’s classmates get into this Awards Show for free. Isabella and Lizzie perform for a hot second, then Isabella flees and leaves Lizzie to do what she came to do–THRIVE. Luckily for Lizzie, her dress detaches and she can move more freely in her purple lace bellbottoms and also her temporary belly button tattoo adds a sense of sophistication girls only get from spending time in Europe. The performance goes off without a hitch. No seriously, all fourteen women singing the lead were flawless. The dancers who just happened to be backstage all stepped in seamlessly and we’re able to see everything, including the iconic point to the ceiling on the lyric “Technicolor” and also the butt shake with outstretched arms. I’ve said it before, but this film STANDS THE TEST OF TIME. They didn’t end the movie there, though, which is disappointing. Gordo and Lizzie get to kiss, but I can’t help but feel like they should have moved that up in the film to end on the true high note. Maybe next time, Disney Studios. So, my final review, you ask? This is a stellar film with stellar acting and stellar plot lines and stellar singing.