Material Girls Review
Cast: Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Angelica Huston, Lukas Haas, Brent Spiner, Maria Conchita Alonso, Marcus Coloma
In this new film from Martha ‘Rambling Rose’ Coolidge, sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff star as the fictional Marchetta sisters. Their father founded Marchetta Cosmetics, and the girls are its face. Their celebutante lifestyle is one that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever picked up a copy of Heat at the dentists. For Ava (Hilary) and Tanzie (Haylie) life is a round of parties and shopping interrupted only occasionally by photoshoots and board meetings; the girls are happy to let their father’s trusted partner Tommy (Spiner) take care of the company while they spend the profits.
But then Tommy presents a takeover bid from their father’s arch-rival Fabiella (Huston) and Tanzie takes a stand. She secretly aspires to become a chemist like her father and wants to preserve his legacy – a legacy that looks ever more threatened when an investigative reporter breaks the story that a Marchetta product is a health hazard. Suddenly the girls are front-page news – and not because of their outfits. Their assets are frozen and none of their friends wants to know them. Their house burns down and their car is stolen – and they are forced to go and live with Inez (Alonso), their housekeeper and the only mother they’ve ever known.
But though the easiest thing would be take Fabiella’s deal, the girls decide they’re tougher than that and that they will get to the bottom of the story. With help from Inez, a legal aid attorney, Henry (Haas) and one of the Marchetta chemists, Rick (Coloma), Ava and Tanzie set out to clear their father’s name and discover themselves in the process.
Material Girls is a very nice film for girls of ten and under, but as a film that sets out to poke fun at the LA, St Tropez tan, famous for being famous, stupid small dogs lifestyle, its far too candy-coated and lacks bite, while the comic timing is off meaning that the jokes often fall flat. Hilary and Haylie Duff are believable as the sisters, and have some chemistry together, but they’re not exactly great thespian talents, while the other actors often look faintly embarrassed and are worth better material than this. Its as if the film lacks the courage of its convictions – and the irony was not lost on me that Hilary Duff is launching her own brand of perfume (wonder what it smells like?) and has a new single to promote.
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