C-

Bratz: The Movie

C-

Bratz: The Movie

Director: Sean McNamara
Runtime: 110 minutes
Cast: Chelsea Staub, Nathalia Ramos, Jon Voight

Barbies for the Paris Hilton era, Bratz dolls wormed their way into the hearts of preteen girls with their empowering message that you're never too young to wear too much makeup and dress like an off-duty stripper. Now the toy-world phenomenon hits the big screen with its bone-deep superficiality intact. In bringing Bratz to theaters, the filmmakers faced a daunting challenge: How do you make heroes out of the popular, clothing-obsessed rich kids who have long served as villains in teen comedies? Bratz answers by clearly delineating between those who use their knowledge of lip-gloss, accessories, and shoes to uplift humanity, and those who use such knowledge for nefarious ends. Besides, it's not like the girls lead perfect lives or anything. One girl's mom is totally poor. Another girl's mom wrestles with chocoholism.

Bratz follows four high-school BFFs (Best Friends Forever) whose shared passion for shopping, video IM-ing, and trying out new shades of makeup fail to keep them from joining separate cliques reflecting their non-shopping-related interests (science, cheerleading, sports, and music). But after a poorly choreographed food fight underlines how far they've drifted apart, the gals decide to challenge their school's rigid social hierarchy by, um, hanging out with each other and being nice to dorks. This brings them into conflict with the evil class president, who decides to throw an MTV-broadcast My Super Sweet 16 party to reassert her social superiority.

Bratz's strong anti-clique sermonizing would be slightly more convincing if it weren't tethered to a movie romanticizing the most awesome clique ever. Apparently cliques are evil unless they involve people with different passions, in which case they're, like, totally tubular. It would be hard to find another film that so nakedly, unambiguously celebrates the cancers of contemporary culture, from rampant consumerism to new-technology mania to the tarting-up of teen girls to bubblegum pop to My Super Sweet 16. Finally, a movie it'd almost be disrespectful not to text your BFFs during. (Suggested message: "OMG this movie iz da bomb. LOL! Az if!!!") This is why the terrorists hate us.

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