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Movie Review

Material Girls

MPAA Rating: PG for language and rude humor

Review coming from Contributor: Susan Quirk

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults, Family
Genre:
Comedy, Drama
Length:
_____
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
August 18, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

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Featuring: Hilary Duff, Haylie Duff, Anjelica Huston, Brent Spiner, Lukas Haas, Maria Conchita Alonso
Director: Martha Coolidge
Producer: Susan Duff, David Faigenblum, Milton Kim, Eve LaDue, Mark Morgan, Guy Oseary, Tim Wesley
Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

“It’s a short trip from the penthouse to the poorhouse.”

The saying, “you can never be too rich or too thin,” must be a favorite of the makers of “Material Girls.” Ultra-thin glamour sisters Tanzie (Hilary Duff) and Ava (Haylie Duff) are the heirs of Marchetta cosmetics, a wildly successful cosmetic company founded by their late father. Their involvement in the company (and apparently this movie) seems to be an excuse to wear an excessive amount of makeup and scandalous outfits showcased in endless forums.

When acting CEO of Marchetta Cosmetics, Tommy (Brent Spiner) suggests selling the company to rival cosmetic tycoon, Fabriella (Angelica Huston) following reports of faulty ingredients causing gruesome facial rashes, the girls are cut off from their charge accounts and left to sort things out. Extreme wealth and acclaimed beauty certainly has not bestowed any intelligence or common sense on the sisters as evidenced in scenes where they fumble around burning their house down and trying to figure out how to ride a bus.

When they are welcomed into the house of their former housekeeper (Maria Conchita Alonzo), they are surprised to learn that she has two small children that she has been separated from because they have not yet been allowed to immigrate. This revelation is the only moment of anything remotely interesting or story worthy in the entire film.

The Bible is clear on the issue of money and style: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon Earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:19-20) and “Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25).

We expect the riches-to-rags and back-to-riches storyline to provide an opportunity for characters to develop and change perspective, shatter some stereotypes, or at least gain some depth, but our material girls, Tanzie and Ava, seem to gain validation of their supposed superiority being white, rich and skinny in America. While snooping around the corporate offices of Marchetta Cosmetics, the girls disguise themselves as janitors. They speak with exaggerated Hispanic accents and Tanzie has fixed her hair in a Latina style and wears tacky black lip liner. In addition, when the girls visit a former client who lives in a moderate middleclass neighborhood, the woman has fifteen cats in her dirty house. Again, on the city bus after fearing “people pee on bus seats” sure enough, the passengers are filthy, stinking creatures. References are made about people that eat Dominoes Pizza as being “white trash,” and a public unemployment clerk is obese and sneezing everywhere, thus Tanzie and Avia confirm that poor people are gross and beneath them.

For a PG-rated film geared toward girls aged ten to tweens, the content of this film was not only extremely inane, but also very inappropriate. There are club scenes with alcohol, a stereotypical gay character, tight cleavage-baring outfits, freak dancing, and too numerous to count exclamations of “Oh my God,” an exclamation of “sh*t happens,” a joke about Prozac, a strange reference to Marilyn Manson, and the phrase “screwier than Courtney Love.” Most offensive of all was a played-out scene where Tanzie wears an extremely low cut and pushed up outfit and repeatedly bends over seductively in front of the male attendant to gain entrance to a news studio.

This movie teaches young girls that using their sexuality is the only way to get what they want. Tanzie is arrested and assumed a prostitute, as well she should be. Her time in jail includes a disturbing scene with real detained prostitutes who begin to paw at her.

Skin-tight, bra revealing clothing was the standard uniform for ultra thin Tanzie and Ava. I cannot help but wonder how many teenaged girls in the audience who experienced pre-pubescence pudginess along with Miss Duff in her “Lizzy McGuire” days will think “Uh oh” when they go home and look in the mirror.

There is nothing material in “Material Girls” and very few laughs. Teen girls want a good story, characters they care about, and a touch of romance. “Material Girls” is a vacuous film, that almost makes a Mary Kate and Ashley video appear academic in comparison.

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild


Viewer Comments
Negative—My husband and I took our daughters, ages 14 and 9, to see this movie this afternoon; what a disappointment! With Hilary Duff and a PG-rating, we thought that we would be seeing a “Lizzie McGuire” type of movie. Instead, we were subjected to foul language and lewd script and costuming. In one scene, Tanzie (Hilary Duff) leans over a counter dressed in a low-cut bustier to seduce a young man into helping her obtain the information she needs to clear her father’s name. In another scene we are told, “s*** happens.” This is just a small sampling of the obscenities in this poorly-scripted movie. In all honesty, we should have gotten up and left after the first 4-letter word and sexual innuendo. Please learn from our mistake. This film is NOT worth your time or money!
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2
—Debi, age 42
Neutral—This movie is a typical Hilary Duff movie that is perfect for anyone who likes her previous movies (much like myself). The movie featured one s-word and about 10 uses of “God” or “oh my God”…There are some low cut outfits and one scene where Hilary’s character uses her physical attributes to get into a forbidden storage area to look for evidence to prove her father is innocent. But all in all there is no really explicit things shown. Credit to the writers for not cramming this movie with immoral outfits, or sexual content or themes or lots of swearing. In my opinion the movie won’t change the world, but it isn’t really harmful either.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Matt Young, age 22
Negative—This movie was billed as a great mother/daughter movie, so I took my 13-year-old to see it this afternoon. Hilary Duff has certainly changed since her days as Lizzie Maguire. To begin with, money and materialism is glamorized throughout this movie. In addition, the fashion in the movie consisted of low-cut tops, short skirts, and high heels. The make-up the Duff girls wore, along with the seductive clothing, made them look like prostitutes! I echo the reviewer’s sentiments regarding the part where Tanzie wears an extremely seductive outfit and repeatedly bends over in front of the male attendant to gain entrance to a news studio, as well as all of the negative attitudes about the poor.

My daughter asked me repeatedly throughout the movie if I wanted to leave. (I wonder if I was gasping that loud?) I said “no,” as I just wanted to see the movie in its entirety. I thought there may be a positive message somewhere in the movie. Aside from brief glimpse of the housekeeper’s children snuggled in their beds at the end, it was a major disappointment!

Of course, the thing that saddened me the most was watching a father and his two (perhaps) 6 and 8-year-old girls leave the theater. (I wondered what was he thinking?) In a nutshell: Don’t waste your money or time with this movie, unless you’re planning a how-not-to-think, dress or behave discussion anytime soon.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Jane, age 47
Comments from young people
Negative—I went to see this with a friend of mine in anticipation of a great Hilary Duff film. It was a great disappointment. Hilary and Haley Duff were VERY immodest in most of the scenes. Hilary Duff even wore a hooker outfit to gain some paperwork illegally! They broke into an office. They went to a party/club which disturbed me. Haley Duff smoked in one scene. The movie in the whole wasn’t very good.

On the plus side, you get the impression that material things don’t make you happy. There was a sweet (but short) scene where their old caretaker expressed that she loved them like they were her own children. The very end of the movie was cute. A FEW humorous parts. One small crude humor part. …If you really want to see the movie despite the immodesty, language, and some disturbing scenes, wait until it’s at Blockbuster. Want to see a good Hilary Duff movie? I’d stick to “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” or maybe “Raise Your Voice.”
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Katy St Germain, age 15
Positive—awesome movie. It’s great-funny. Shows that you really should work for a living. And there are some issues of fashion patrol, a tad bit of vanity, and a little risk of kissing—like maybe twice. But other than that, I really enjoyed it!! Highly recommended for the teen girl—who’s into clothes, spa, modeling.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Hannah, age 16
Positive—If you are not a Hilary Duff fan than you won’t really enjoy this movie …this movie is for teen girls, moms, friends, not really a guy film…… but guys you can still go see it if you want… Only a few bad words… a few crude humor spots… and one spot where Hilary dresses in a mini skirt and a revealing top just to get her way. She saw it in a movie she watched and decided to try it out for herself. No violence. There are funny parts. Overall, a good Hilary movie for all Hilary fans.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Heather Usher, age 16
Positive—My friend and I saw this movie in the theaters. We both agreed it was not as offensive as some of the reviews we read had made it out to be. We both laughed, and agreed it was pretty funny. …Apart from the part where Tanzie (Hilary) dresses inappropriately to get into case-sensitive files, I would say it is “Average” to “Better than Average.” I would not recommend this movie to children under the age of eleven or twelve though, because, although PG, it is closer to a PG-13 rating.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Ally, age 14
Positive—This was a great movie. I don’t see how it got all the bad ratings. It is a movie for anyone.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Stephanie, age 13
Positive—I thought that this movie was great! I also thought that it was the best movie that Hilary Duff has ever done!! Yeah so, there was a scene where she had a low cut top and a mini, but like you don’t wear a mini skirt or have at least one low cut top!! Give the negative a rest and just have a little fun! I know that I did when I saw it!!…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Kathryn, age 13
Neutral—I saw this movie with my mom, my friend, my friends mom, and my 7 year old sister. I didn’t think it was TERRIBLE, but it wasn’t the best for a PG movie. Although my little sister didn’t understand the bad scenes, I did. And I didn’t like them. The scene where Hilary Duff is wearing a VERY low shirt and very MINI skirt, just so she could see a file to help her dad, I didn’t approve. When I knew this movie had Hilary Duff in it, I expected it to be another “A Cinderella Story” type of movie. Once again, it was the most horrible movie ever, but it wasn’t really worth seeing. See it when it comes out on DVD if you REALLY want to.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Tara, age 13
Positive—This movie was great. I saw it with two mates, and they loved it, too. The clothing they wear is so similar to our age range (teens). There is some swearing, but you have to listen really carefully to understand. Its really funny. Don’t understand how it’s getting really bad ratings. Leave them alone; they are great actresses and the movie was Fab.
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Frances, age 14
Negative—I was very disappointed in this movie. I have seen all of Hilary Duff's movies and was excited to see another. I always promoted Hilary Duff as a good example of what teenagers today should be like, but this movie has severely proved me wrong. Bad language and sexual dancing, as well as clothing, disgusted me to the core. This movie is not worth the money, and I may rethink seeing any more of Hilary Duff's movies.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 2½
—Kayla, age 16
Negative—I wouldn’t waste your money to go see this film, err I mean renting it! This movie was poor quality and very boring. There was a lot of immodest clothing and use of “god,” and “oh my god.” Then there is this one part where Hilary leans over the counter showing basically all her chest, and she looks like a prostitute. Both girls in the movie are basically shown as prostitues, by the way they dress; they LOOK like it, too. …And even in the one part, Haley is smoking. I think a lot of girls look up to Hilary as a role model. I also think that she considers herself that too. So what is she saying in this movie of hers? “Let’s all be strippers/prostitues and use our looks to seduct boys?” Don’t get me wrong, I really love Hilary Duff and enjoyed her movies (“Raise Your Voice,” and the “Lizzie Mcquire” movie and Cinderella story). I just think that this movie states only negative things. It’s best not to see this movie at all.
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Lauren, age 13