This is not a review for the 8 to 14 year old girls Lionsgate is hoping will be in the audience for Bratz: The Movie. This is a review for the 30 to 50 year old parents, debating whether or not to let their kids see it or worse, trying to decide whether or not they should accompany them. Don’t. To teenage girls Bratz will probably be the greatest thing they’ve ever seen, but then so would any movie which uses abbreviations like OMG and BFF with spastic frequency. For everyone else, Bratz is like being raped by MySpace.
The movie begins pounding away by taking the term “morning person” to an entirely new, dizzying level. Four perfectly cute girls of perfectly diverse (but not too dark!) ethnicities wake up in their respective bedrooms, leap out of bed, and begin dancing in their PJs. Who needs coffee when you’re young, super cool, and have closets full of expensive clothes! After a quick video conference while they decide on outfits, the girls meet up for their first day of high school looking even more super cool than they did in the last scene! Unfortunately, all is not well at their new high school. The place is run by an uber-nasty mean girl who has divided the cafeteria up into cliques. Unable to escape established school hierarchy the girls are separated. Flash two years later and they are no longer friends, but chance circumstances bring them back together so they can be super cool again and show everyone else how awesome and super cool it is to be like them and wear totally awesome outfits and spend all your time obsessing over fashion and stuff.
Bratz is basically a cross-pollinated knockoff of Mean Girls and Clueless, except without any of the stuff that made those movies good. For starters, it just doesn’t go anywhere. The movie has no real purpose other than to follow four girls around on various shopping excursions and watch them wax poetic about how important your friends are. It’s like pop culture-porn, a script written primarily to shove on screen whatever it is that a bunch of marketing nerds think is hot with teenage girls. Oh the film makes some half-hearted attempt to say something about being yourself, but when it says it, the words come out more like: “If you’re super cool and super good looking then you should totally be yourself because everyone will like you and it will be awesome and oh yeah your friends are so more important than anything in the whole world and don’t forget to buy lots of hot clothes and use You Tube!” As life lessons go, I can’t imagine anything more meaningless.
The script is bad enough all by itself, but they’ve actually managed to cast a group of young actresses who make it even worse. The four leads are played by unknowns, and I submit that they may have been unknown for a reason. Not one of them can act. Their performances are about on par with that of your average 6-year-old kid in a milk commercial, except most of them are nearly 20 and theoretically smart enough to understand that acting is more than just a session of “lets pretend”. Special note must be made of Jon Voight who shows up as the world’s richest high school principle. Teachers may make a lousy salary, but apparently that principle gig buys at least one mansion. Dear Mr. Voight, wearing a prosthetic nose is no substitute for acting. It’s just a fake nose. It doesn’t make your performance better. Stop it.
Bratz is an awful movie, but it’s probably not a harmful one. I mean it’s not going to make your daughters run out and start selling themselves for sex the way buying slutty dolls the movie is based on will. At worst Bratz: The Movie may make your daughters dumber or teach them that if they aren’t super good looking they have no hope of ever being popular. The first will probably happen anyway if they watch MTV, and the second, well it’s probably true. It’s a shallow world we live in and Bratz: The Movie does its best to make it even more shallower than ever! OMG! Will you be my BFFs?