More than a few of Shakespeare's plays have never been documented on film in any meaningful way. In spite of rumors, it now looks like Martin Scorsese's biopic of Dean Martin will never happen. Sergio Leone had plans to shoot a mammoth restaging of the siege of Stalingrad, but he died before he could fulfill those plans. Someone did manage to make The Lizzie McGuire Movie, however. A Disney Channel hit since 2001, the series stars Hilary Duff as a spunky, insecure teen with a bratty kid brother, a couple of close friends, and an inner life occasionally represented by an animated alter ego. As it goes with the TV show, so it goes with the movie, which benefits from being shot largely in Rome and suffers from trying to stretch its sitcom antics to feature length. Shoehorning in the series' entire cast (sans one major character who's "in Mexico City"), the film begins with a peppy montage sequence of Duff deciding what to wear to her junior-high graduation, ignoring the fact that everyone will be wearing robes. Capping the ceremony with a humiliating pratfall, Duff has all the more reason to look forward to her class trip to Rome in the company of semi-platonic best friend Adam Lamberg and the broad comic stylings of high-school principal and Mad TV veteran Alex Borstein. Once there, she's mistaken for half of a hit Italian pop duo, and when the handsome other half (Yani Gellman) attempts to recruit her to fill in for his absent partner, a smitten Duff has to decide what a girl wants: to visit centuries-old landmarks and soak up the culture, or to hang out with a cute Italian boy while committing fraud and lip-synching terrible pop songs. Though Duff proves a likable star (if a less capable singer) and the ensuing antics stay good-natured, the film so closely resembles other attempts to bring the pressboard-flat land of TV sitcoms into the real world that it's hard to watch without expecting Duff to bump into the Olsen twins or the Facts Of Life girls around every corner. Somehow, all those lame one-liners don't sound any better when delivered atop the Piazza di Spagna.
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