Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen Review

It’s abundantly clear as to who Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen’s audience is. Based on a best selling piece of modern children’s literature, adapted and directed by respective women (the latter being a Brit, Sara Sugarman, previously responsible for the horrible Mad Cows and the more appealing Very Annie Mary) and starring Lindsay Lohan, Disney’s current teen star of choice from Life-Size and The Parent Trap through to Freaky Friday and Herbie : Fully Loaded, this is blatantly a work designed to appease the lucrative female “tweeny” demographic. Indeed, this is not a film located in the teenage landscape as imagined by Larry Clark, but rather one hoped for by those who haven’t reached it yet.

Thus we have a film best deemed as fantasy. Lohan’s character moves from New York to New Jersey and therefore has to attend a new school. With this comes to usual nonsense involving playground rivalries, a dancing competition, facile romance and the school play. Of course, the “drama queen” of the time may suggest something a little different, but can be largely dismissed as a misnomer. Lohan’s character may is, in her own words, “ a little strange”, but then with Glenne Headly playing your mother this is surely to be expected.

Rather the supposedly knowing title comes across as little more than a cynical marketing ploy. Perhaps something has been lost in translating Confessions… from page to screen, but either way there’s an inconsistency of tone. The self-proclaimed “drama” allows for some fantastical cartoon-style interludes and a bubble gum production design which means that even New York’s back allies come adorned with colour coded bin liners, yet there’s little sense of irony. Whilst the filmmakers seem quite happy to send up certain aspects of their efforts, they also demand that we take the rest with an utmost level of seriousness.

Indeed, the major problem Confessions… has is that the parts which are given a more straight faced of interpretations are the ones which prove the most grating. When, for example, Lohan performs a musical number or two (no doubt cynically released as tie-in singles) we’re expected to be right behind her. Yet when we get to the more potentially interesting areas such as her need to lie about her father being alive, it’s all fun and laughter. As such we get a film which throws away all of its promising material and settles simply for bland romance and happy endings.

Of course, it goes without saying that I’m not representative of the target audience mentioned above as such am perhaps not in the best position to judge how they will perceive it. No doubt bland romance and happy endings will be fairly high on their agendas, yet this doesn’t excuse the missed opportunities. At a time when filmmakers are more readily able to accommodate wider audiences, especially within children’s films, it’s only too easy to pass Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen by and accept something else instead.

The Disc

Confessions… gets the sprightly DVD presentation you’d expect from such a release. It comes with an anamorphic transfer at a ratio of 1.78:1 and looks just fine. The print is pin sharp and remarkably clean, whilst the palette of pinks and primary colours is faithfully recreated. As for the soundtrack we get a DD5.1 mix that copes just as well with the dialogue as it does the hideous femme-pop tunes which permanently occupy a place in the background.

With regards to extras, these amount to very little. The My Fair Lady parody which appears in the deleted scene is agreeable enough, but the other pieces are flimsy to say the least. The ‘Confessions from the Set’ featurette offers the usual EPK nonsense, the music video should be avoided at all costs, whilst the commentary appears to be having a personality crisis. Not sure whether to appeal to adults or the film’s natural audience, we get a piece which amounts to little more than some laboured jokes about spelling long words and completely pointless information with regards to where some of the actors were born. Moreover, the sheer number of participants also makes it far too noisy for its own good.

All extras, with the exception of the music video, come with optional subtitles in the following languages: French, Spanish, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Portuguese, Dutch and Estonian.

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Last updated: 24/06/2018 23:07:50

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