×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bratz

There’s at least some risk that auds will come to see “Bratz” expecting a movie about German meat products. That would be wrong: No Germans seem to be involved.

With:
Yasmin - Nathalia Ramos Jade - Janel Parrish Sasha - Logan Browning Cloe - Skyler Shaye Meredith - Chelsea Staub Avery - Anneliese van der Pol Quinn - Malese Jow Cameron - Stephen Lunsford Bubbie - Lainie Kazan Principal Berkman - Jon Voight

There’s at least some risk that auds will come to see “Bratz” expecting a movie about German meat products. That would be wrong: No Germans seem to be involved. The second bigscreen extravaganza of the season to be based on a toy — and a movie so noisy, cloying and hysterically adolescent it may create its own cult of the perverse — “Bratz” offers supporting evidence that any film in which “Awesome!” gets uttered more than three times should get a NC-17 rating, regardless of all the benefits such a move would deny the hair-extension industry.

Based on a line of fashion dolls that has also inspired an animated TV show, “Bratz” is a tough movie to pass judgment on — at least, if motive can be considered a factor in sentencing. Brazenly shoplifting along the entire Rodeo Drive of teen-girl classics (especially, if not exclusively, “Clueless,” “Mean Girls” and “Election”), it takes everything in its grab bag to an extreme, including the titular quartet of hotties who, inexplicably, appear to be entering high school at the age of 20.

At Carry (sic) Nation High School — a combination health spa and disco, with a nod to the fascist slave factory of “Metropolis” — the four begin as “BFF” (best friends forever!). But they are divided by new allegiances to new cliques: Brainiac Jade (Janel Parrish) becomes a chemistry geek, Sasha (Logan Browning) a get-down cheerleader, Cloe (Skyler Shaye) a soccer player with David Beckham’s foot. Only Yasmin (Nathalia Ramos) remains more or less unaffiliated, like Switzerland.

But the four aren’t happy, and they are reunited two years later by a renewed moral vision, thereby creating a sociopolitical allegory about the evils of tribalism, the former Yugoslavia and the theory of the unitary executive — as embodied by one Meredith Baxter Dimly (Chelsea Staub).

Meredith is an interesting entry in the history of the don’t-hate-me-because-I’m-beautiful school of villainy. Although viewers have seen Meredith’s ilk before, she operates at a level previously unattained among adolescent dictators: She assigns seating at lunch, can reduce a freshman to dust with one withering glance and has the backing of the dithering principal (a terrific if unrecognizable Jon Voight), who happens to be her father.

“Bratz’s” references and parodies are consistently on-target, if always way too over-the-top. Every line of dialogue could plausibly take an exclamation point; most of the characters seem to be medicated, and Lainie Kazan, who has over the years played Italian, Jewish and Greek, now appears as Yasmin’s apparently Hispanic-Jewish granny. The music cues are so obvious and stupid, they’re the funniest thing in the movie — except, perhaps, when Meredith is picking acts for the school talent show: “If I see one more violin-playing contortionist, I’ll scream.”

A current AT&T ad for Internet service urges the listener to “share your individuality with people just like you.” Which is essentially the message of “Bratz.” For all its blather about “letting your spirit soar,” it’s really about furthering an MTV-defined version of cool, which means too many clothes, too little education and too much money. Meredith lives in a house that would embarrass Michael Jackson — and her father is a school principal. Obviously, it was Mom who had the money, which makes us wonder where Dad hid the body. And evokes our sympathy.

Bratz

Production: A Lionsgate release of a Crystal Sky Pictures production in association with Arad Prods. Produced by Avi Arad, Steven Paul, Isaac Larian. Executive producer, Benedict Carver. Co-producer, Kyla Kraman. Directed by Sean McNamara. Screenplay, Susan Estelle Jansen; story, Adam De La Pena, David Eilenberg.

Crew: Camera (FotoKem color), Christian Sebaldt; editor, Jeff W. Canavan; music, John Coda; original songs, Ron Fair, Stephanie Ridel, Nick Scapa; production designer, Rusty Smith; art director, Rosario Provenza; set decorator; Karen Agresti; costume designer, Bernadene Morgan; sound (Dolby/DTS), David Chornow; supervising sound editor, Patrick Giraudi; re-recording mixers, Girauldi, Andy Hay, Eric Justen; visual effects supervisor, Avi Das; visual effects, Barbed Wire FX, Edgeworx; stunt coordinator, Michael R. Long; line producer, Eric M. Breiman; assistant director, Jeffrey F. January; casting, Joey Paul Jensen. Reviewed at Dolby screening room, New York, July 26, 2007. MPAA rating: PG. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: Yasmin - Nathalia Ramos Jade - Janel Parrish Sasha - Logan Browning Cloe - Skyler Shaye Meredith - Chelsea Staub Avery - Anneliese van der Pol Quinn - Malese Jow Cameron - Stephen Lunsford Bubbie - Lainie Kazan Principal Berkman - Jon Voight

More Film

  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu

    China Box Office: Weekend Chart Dominated By Non-Chinese Films

    Unusually, all of the top five films at the China box office this weekend were non-Chinese. That’s a relatively rare occurrence, as audiences typically favor local films over foreign content. But it is one that may happen more often, as high-performing local titles become fewer and farther between due to production slowdowns. The lack of [...]

  • White Lie

    Playtime Boards Canadian Psychological Thriller 'White Lie' Starring Kacey Rohl (EXCLUSIVE)

    One of France’s leading sales companies, Playtime has boarded “White Lie,” a character-driven psychological thriller film from the promising new Toronto-based directors Yonah Lewis and Calvin Thomas. Now in post-production, “White Lie” is headlined by Kacey Rohl, who has been seen in hit TV series such as “The Killing,” “Arrow,” “Hannibal” and “Wayward Pines.” Rohl [...]

  • Cannes’ Focus CoPro’ Gives Push for

    Cannes’ Focus CoPro’ Gives Push for First-Time Features

    CANNES–Seven first-feature projects will be pitched to an audience of industry professionals at Focus CoPro’, an event hosted by Cannes’ Short Film Corner that will take place Tuesday May 21 at the Palais des Festivals. The pitching session, which is run in collaboration with Nisi Masa and the Pop Up Film Residency, was introduced last year [...]

  • Cannes: Star Alliance Movies Takes Wide’s

    Cannes: Star Alliance Movies Takes Wide’s ‘Blast’ for China (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES  —  Hong Kong’s Star Alliance Movies has pounced on all rights to China on “Blast,” a race against the clock thriller that marks the first full production from Wide, Loic Magneron’s Paris-based sales-production-distribution company. The deal, made against a background of slowing sales to China, represents the first pre-sale on “Blast,” which is now [...]

  • Brazil’s Cinemascopio, France’s Les Valseurs Team

    Brazil’s Cinemascopio, France’s Les Valseurs Team For Nara Normande, Tião’s ‘The Heron’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    CANNES — Recife-based CinemaScópio Produções and Paris’ Les Valseurs have teamed on “A Garça” (The Heron), the feature debut from Brazil’s Nara Normande, co-authored by Tião. Brazilian CinemaScópio is behind Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ Brazilian Western-thriller “Bacurau,” in competition at Cannes. Les Valseurs is also presenting Qiu Yang’s short “She Runs” at Critics’ [...]

  • Portrait of a Young Woman on

    Cannes Film Review: 'Portrait of a Lady on Fire'

    The title of Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” implies that her subversively seductive film will focus on the subject of its titular painting — an 18th-century woman who refuses to pose, in defiance of the arranged marriage into which she’s being forced — when it’s just as much a portrait of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content