Based on the hugely popular line of sassy dolls that have been giving Barbie a run for her money, the Bratz already animated cartoon stars have finally been brought to big-screen life by director Sean McNamara. McNamara, previously responsible for directing tween-sensation Hilary Duff in RAISE YOUR VOICE (2004), teamed with screenwriter Susan Estelle Jansen (2003's THE LIZZIE MCGUIRE MOVIE) for an innocuous entertainment aimed squarely at the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL crowd.
Yasmin (Nathalia Ramos), Jade (Janel Parrish), Sasha (Logan Browning) and Chloe (Skyler Shaye) are BFF (that's "best friends forever" for those not down with the tween lingo) about to enter their freshman year of high school. The girls are super-excited to go through the experience together, but aren’t quite prepared for the obstacle that stands in their way: Class president and principal's daughter Meredith Baxter Dimly (Chelsea Staub) and her team of minions refuse to let the girls stick together as a group and are determined to separate them into social cliques that match up with each girl’s personality. Will the cruel social politics of high school tear the Bratz apart, or will they break the system down and unite the school into one massive clique using their brattitude?
Although the film at times seems more a showcase for the trendy clothes specifically tailored for each character’s unique personality, it does convey a positive message about loyalty and friendship. And while Jansen's script relies heavily on trends and lingo popular with the tween crowd, there’s something in it for parents as well: Thanks to the smart casting of Jon Voight as the school’s principal and Lainie Kazan as Yasmin’s beloved Bubbie, the two-hour run time won't be a complete bore for adults. It may even shed some light on all those abbreviated phrases the kids toss around. leave a comment --Adam Schubak