Directed by Sean McNamara
Cast: Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos, Skyler Shaye, Chelsea Staub, Annelise van der Pol, Malese Jow, Ian Nelson, Stephen Lunsford, Jon Voight, Lainie Kazan, William May, Emily Everhard, Chet Hanks, Carl Rux, Kadeem Hardison.
Rated PG (thematic elements)
Reviewed by The Teen Critic on December 7, 2008.
I want to make something very clear: It isn't that I don't like "Bratz" because I was a 17-year-old guy when I saw it last year. It's that I don't like it because it's horrible from any perspective. That's a common misconception that I have dealt with from girls younger than I who liked the film. I am serious when I say that I can't see what's good about it from any angle. I'm all for a cute, Disney Channel-level movie that sermonizes to us about friendship; I think they are underrated and watch them every once in a while if I'm in a cheerful mood. So, I confess that I wasn't dreading "Bratz" as much as I should have. I expected it would be bad (it's expected with a movie based on a line of children's dolls) but fun enough to sit through, much like a movie made for Disney Channel is.
I was off the mark--way off the mark. This isn't even good enough for the Disney Channel. At least with those films and television shows, even stuff like "Hannah Montana," you get a sense that the players are trying to teach us something. This is not so with "Bratz," a vile piece of trash that is so terrifying in its contempt for high-schoolers that it's a wonder someone didn't intervene.
The most irksome thing about "Bratz," other than its very existence, is how utterly and completely hypocritical it is at its very core. Those Disney Channel movies have fun messages that turn out well for the character in the end. Maybe the characters do bad things to get there, but, in the world's eyes, the end justifies the means. They learn their lesson. Whether we like the final product isn't important, because at least it hasn't given us a bad taste in our mouth. The characters in "Bratz" live up to the movie's very title and, as the images ravage our cornea with such melodrama as to choke the viewer, we realize something much more insidious than its materialistic teachings: this movie is telling us that, in order to reconnect with our friends, we must plot against the mean girl and make her more miserable than she ever made ours. It's a bad message to teach kids, and that's what differentiates "Bratz" and the everyday kids' movie.
The plot of "Bratz" is as generic as they come. Four girls have been BFF's since, like, ever, and they're entering high school together for the first time. "Don't lose your passion for fashion," Sasha says to Cloe, in one of the movie's more original moments (that's not necessarily a good thing, considering Cloe is changing her clothes right in front of the school with only the other girls to cover her). Two years pass by, apparently (I don't remember the transition), and the girls have parted ways, joining cliques as the girls in this mysterious universe from another planet do, at the whim of ice queen Meredith. After the girls get back together following a food fight (of course!), "Mer" plots to steal their thunder. So, as mentioned before, the Bratz plot to get her back at her televised sweet sixteen party.
It took all of my brain power to remember that plot, and the stuff I couldn't remember was gotten off of WikiPedia. It's asinine, stagnant entertainment at best, soulless and mind-boggling at worst. Suffice to say, the latter two attributes are prevalent for 95% of the movie. Not only is the plot generic, but it is also cut and pasted from the most cliche moments out of countless better Valley Girl movies--namely the Valley Girl masterworks "Clueless" and "Legally Blonde," both films endlessly more delightful than "Bratz" ever hopes to be. The dialogue is stale, to say the least, the characters sounding exactly like soundbytes from the animated films made about the dolls. Speaking of the dolls, they have more personality and charm than the four talentless hacks playing them.
Logan Browning, Janel Parrish, Nathalia Ramos, and Skyler Shaye have never acted before this film. If this is any sort of proof of their acting ability, I never want to see something with any of these actresses again. Ever. These are not actresses emoting; they are no more than cardboard that moves. There isn't a brain in any of their pretty little heads, no soul behind their actions, no heart in the material. These are four of the worst performances I have ever seen splattered onto the cinema. If you saw "Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker" and "Dragon Wars" and were taken aback by both Alex Pettyfer and Amanda Brooks, get a load of these four girls. I understand that preteens want over-the-top, but this is beyond that. There is nary a good performance in the film, but they are asked to hold the material on their shoulders. They don't, but then, there would have to be material to work with.
The pitiful direction by "That's So Raven" and "Hannah Montana" alum Sean McNamara is so nondescript it is as if he gave up and set the camera on "autopilot" mode. The script by McNamara is nothing more than crap disguised as cutesy. Not only could monkeys have written it better, they could have won an Oscar compared to this. In fact, the script seems to be about ten pages long, triple-spaced. They repeat the same thing over and over and over and over.
In short, to write this as they would understand it: LIK OMG THIS IS SOOOOOOO AWFUL!!! ITS AMZINGLY AWFULZ!!!! ISNT THERE ANY JUSTIZ IN THIZ WORLD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!