Thirteen-year-old Lizzie McGuire and her pals Gordo, Kate and Ethan all pack their bags and plan to live la dolce vita while on a class trip to Italy. Once there, Lizzie is mistaken for pop star Isabella and begins to falls for Paolo, Isabella's handsome, Italian pop star former boyfriend. When Lizzie's mom, dad and annoying brother Matt get wind of this, they all jet their way to the boot country. In the meantime, Lizzie is transformed from a gawky teen to a beautiful pop star, Gordo struggles to understand his true feelings for her, and a whirlwind of surprising events force Lizzie to find the true meaning of friendship.
An entertaining and effective expansion of the Disney Channel series to roughly the dimensions of a feature film. Using a teen dream scenario that dates back at least to "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954) and "Rome Adventure" (1962), Jim Fall ("Trick") and his three writers follow Lizzie and her classmates on a summer trip to Rome, where romance and adventure quite naturally follow. For all the film's antiseptic, sitcom qualities, it does touch on some significant moral and behavioral issues, just like the Disney serials most parents will remember ("Spin and Marty," etc.), though tempered by the 21st-century notion that shopping is the best solution to any kind of psychological stress. And Hilary Duff, as the gorgeous but fatally self-conscious Lizzie, is quite appealing. — Dave Kehr
2003-05-02 | Dave Kehr | Read the New York Times Review of The Lizzie McGuire Movie