A Limited Potential Audience
Only-A-Child | 03/31/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
Read It and Weep (2006) tries to package elements of 1996's "Harriet the Spy" into an episode of "Naturally Sadie" and then throws in the standard "teenage girl's upward social mobility causes her to neglect her best friends". This is one of those movies that give film producer's anxiety attacks about their job security. It not only looks good on paper (the book from which it was adapted is excellent) but it is very well executed. Good songs, Kay Panabaker has an effortless charm and does a slick voice-over narration, the acting for the camera direction is excellent (even getting a nice performance from Jason Dolley-which will strike anyone who has seen him on "Corey in the House" as quite an achievement), and the budget was large enough for professional production design.
So why is the whole less than the sum of its parts? And why did this movie fail to generate any real reaction despite an aggressive promotional campaign on the Disney Channel? My guess is that when all is said and done the thing just doesn't have any bite, having had the book's more realistic and controversial elements stripped out for the adaptation. Couple that with the fact that the movie's structure sends the wrong message; heroine Jamie Bartlett is perfectly fine with her celebrity status and unconcerned about blowing off her friends until she overreaches and her new world begins to fall apart. It is not the shallowness of her new world that she finds objectionable but the fact that she has soon alienated everyone she has been trying to impress.
Then there is fact that none (absolutely zero) of the movie's comedy elements are humorous. It's not meant to be a comedy but the producers have clearly inserted stuff (the pizza selections for example) only for their comic qualities. Unfortunately none of this stuff is even remotely funny.
Finally there is the whole imaginary alter ego thing (Kay's older sister Danielle), a character who pops in and out of countless scenes as a kind of counterpoint to the voice-over commentary. Ultimately this adds nothing to the story and the repositioning of the character with each sentence is genuinely irritating. If they had to go with this kind of thing it would have been better to have the competing angel and devil whispering in her ear. The reason being that the alter ego thing is too close to actual schizophrenia; not the mentally stable heroine role model Disney should be showcasing to an unsuspecting preteen market.
High school sophomore Jamie Bartlett (Kay Panabaker, "Phil of the Future") has three semi geek friends (who would only be geeks in a teen movie), and documents her life in a journal-the names are changed to protect the innocent. The journal is accidentally turned in as a school assignment and then published and quickly becomes a bestseller. Jamie is plunged into the life of a big-time celebrity and elevated to the top of the school's social hierarchy.
Although it should be obvious that he characters in her journal have real-life in-school counterparts, no one seems to notice or to particularly care. Then during a talk show interview Jamie slips up and reveals that the journal's villainess is based on new friend and school queen bee Sawyer Sullivan (Allison Scagliotti-Smith). Since this should have already been clear to everyone, the viewer must work to suspend disbelief as Jamie's adoring classmates turn against her for the nasty characterizations in her journal.
The DVD (and the Disney Channel broadcasts) are in 4:3. The DVD has two featurettes. "Making of Read It and Weep" (4:30) talks about making the movie. The second featurette focuses on which cast members keep journals and on the Panabaker sisters discussing their careers from the perspective of sisters.
There is also a Jordan Pruitt two-minute video of her singing "Outside Looking In". The music video interweaves various types of students taking class photos with the song about fitting in.
The "Read It and Weep" premise should have gotten a better treatment but the movie should be enjoyable for many in the middle school crowd; especially if they are crushing on one or more of the actors. There is little that is worth the interest and attention of younger or older viewers.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
Only-A-Child | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I wasnt even going to watch the movie, because the previews to it didnt look interesting. But a night when I was bored the movie just came on, so I watched it. AND I FEEL IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!!! It's actually a really good movie, and it has come to be one of my favorite Disney Channel movies of '06, "Cheetah Girls 2" is the first!!!!"
Only-A-Child | 04/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well the story had a good plot, nice ending but if they could have done it again they should have picked someone cuter for the part of Marco. And you should give a music video for "I Will be Around" because it is a great song. I personally think that they should have switched "Is" and Jamie around for a little bit of excitement and next time maybe you should put in a little more stars so people would actually want to see it for the stars and not only the movie. Beacause alot of the time I rent movies beacause Corbin Blue, and Vanessa Huchens are in it, and then the movie turns out to be no good."