I’ll let Patrick sum up Material Girls. The film is small enough that probably just one perspective is needed. I’ll keep my notes limited to a comparison between this film and Sense and Sensibility (on which it is “based”).
So technically Material Girls is based on Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (so Book Review obvs). I did indeed read the book to make sure I got the full Material Girls experience. I can tell you… not necessary. If you squint you can map the characters between the book and the film (Elinor is Hilary Duff, Marianne is Haylie Duff, Edward is Tommy, Willoughby is Rick, and Colonel Brandon is Henry). Besides that there is literally no resemblance. I amused myself while watching the film by imagining what Sense and Sensibility would be like if its plot actually did resemble the plot of Material Girls. And it would go… a little something… like this: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are heirs to their father’s corset empire. Unfortunately upon his passing they learn that his corsets are dangerous and has led to the permanent deformation of its wearers. It can’t be! In order to clear their names, get their beaus and receive the inheritance they rightfully deserve, they must infiltrate the dances of their rivals to uncover the dastardly conspiracy to defame them. Along the way they learn that money isn’t everything and love can’t be bought. Boom. That would be the worst book. This reminds me of an idea I had (that would also be the worst) which is writing books-films-are-based-on… not books-based-on-films. Rather than just adapting the film directly into a book, you take the film and reimagine it as a book that it could have been based on. Get it? There’s a subtle difference… nevermind, it’s not important.
‘Ello everyone? Material Girls, more like Makes Me Hurl! (oof, my wife had to help with that one). So you know how some movies feel like they aren’t real movies? No? Well this one was barely a movie. But I know the question on everyone’s mind: was it dog poo in my face? You’ll have to wait and see, let’s get into it:
- The Good – I did not think Haylie Duff was substantially worse as an actress compared to the actors surrounding her, the story was surprisingly interesting, and what should have been a really terrible Erin Brockovich reference ended up being the best part of the movie.
- The Bad – Data from Star Trek was not so good. Lukas Haas was straight dog poo in my face, more on that later. This is barely a movie, and so clearly involved (1) a studio trying to salvage a Olsen Twins movie gone wrong, and (2) was only released because someone in production (probably the director) had connections in the industry and got distribution.
- The BMT – Yes! But I would put it at 30-40 just because of the size of the film. It was not straight up dog poo in my face because in its small way it was charming. I would never watch this film again exclusively because Haylie Duff and Lukas Haas have the single most excruciating romance in the history of cinema.
Alrighty. Quick hot take on the commentary, a mini Audio Sklog-entary, this was exclusively the director and confirmed for me that a single person commentary is necessarily inferior to multiple people. Also, while I know the director is well meaning, it comes across as kind of a shoddily put together film. The entire commentary is just about how they were trying to explain the story from A to Z, nothing really super interesting here beyond the fact that apparently the director herself convinced a very tentative Lukas Haas to act like a weirdo in a comedic role and it came out horribly, no joke. D+. I can imagine less interesting commentaries, but they’d be trainwrecks.
It looks like Jamie is doing a little Sense and Sensibility review, so I might as well rock a Settings 101. Am I allowed to? I’m not sure, but this movie was very much set in LA, complete with “hilarious” LA-has-terrible-public-transportation jokes. I think I give it a C+. It’s story doesn’t require the film to be set in LA necessarily, but they use the setting to solid effect in the end (the aforementioned bus gag, the boyfriend is a star on an OC-like show, a couple gift bag gags). Maybe Jamie can chime in on the scale and some examples of what is an A – D setting. Obviously an F setting is one which just doesn’t have a setting, like Trespass starring Nic Cage.