Sunday, July 20, 2008

Picture This! (Stephen Herek, 2008) C-

I must admit that I was nervous viewing Picture This!, my beloved Ashley Tisdale's first film after the wild success of the HSM movies. Would she be as good of an actress as I thought she was in HSM2? Would Picture This! give her something to do comedically or would the script and/or direction let her down majorly? The answer to the first question: a definitive YES. If nothing else, Picture This! proves that La Tisdale is a complete natural on screen and can make anything, and I do mean anything, funny. The answer to the second question: kinda. The beginning of Picture This! is rather predictable-- loser Mandy (La Tisdale) is in love with hott jock Drew Patterson and eventually gets him to notice how great she is after rescuing her when she nearly drowns-- and, after some gooey romantic crap was thrown in, I wanted to barf right then and there. Eventually, however, a clever comedic situation straight out of a Buster Keaton short emerges (kicking and screaming, I might add, since the screenwriters try their damnedest to hide it underneath teenage movie cliches and shitty romantic situations) and nearly saves the picture. After finding out about Mandy and Drew, her overprotective father grounds her- on the day of Drew's big party! To get out of the house, Mandy lies about having to study with a friend and her father only lets her go on the condition that he'll call every 30 minutes and she needs to prove, using her brand new video cell phone, that she's at her friend's house every time. Well, of course she's not going over to study and is instead getting ready for the party. So the next 45 minutes of screen time is spent with Mandy trying to fool her father while at the mall, at a battle of the bands concert, driving in her car and a few other various situations. This is where La Tisdale truly shines, proving her skills as a comedienne are top-notch. Why doesn't someone give her a role in a proper film instead of forcing her to slum it in this kind of dreck? The ending of this film is horribly shody, complete with a weird chanting from the mean girls trying to keep Mandy from the party that ends up with the Regina George vomiting for no reason and the most fucked up prom queen ceremony that was so surreal it should have been in a David Lynch film, and nearly destroys those precious 45 or so minutes of comedic genius.

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