Material Girls

Writer-director Martha Coolidge (VALLEY GIRL) returns to teen-girl comedy with this light but listless vehicle for the sisters Duff, tween superstar Hilary and older sister Hayley. Cross the Olsen twins with the Hilton sisters and you get Ava and Tanzie Marchetta, the glamorous faces of Marchetta Cosmetics and, now that their father, Victor, is dead and...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Writer-director Martha Coolidge (VALLEY GIRL) returns to teen-girl comedy with this light but listless vehicle for the sisters Duff, tween superstar Hilary and older sister Hayley. Cross the Olsen twins with the Hilton sisters and you get Ava and Tanzie Marchetta, the glamorous faces of Marchetta Cosmetics and, now that their father, Victor, is dead and mom's off marrying an Egyptian prince, they're also heiresses. Like Ashley and Mary-Kate, the Marchetta sisters are rich beyond compare; like the Hiltons, they're red-carpet celebutantes and pre-teen idolettes. But appearances can be deceiving: Not only does Tanzie secretly wants to be a chemist — she'd rather be home filling out college applications than nightclubbing — but all's not well with the company. The sisters' trustee (Brent Spiner) reveals that Marchetta Cosmetics has been stagnating since their father's death and, with no new products on the market, the stock is beginning to fall. Cosmetics czarina Fabiella (Anjelica Huston) has offered to buy the company, but the girls know she was Victor Marchetta's arch nemesis; there's no way they're allowing the company he built from scratch to fall into her clutches. That said, Ava is too preoccupied with her imminent engagement to prime-time soap stud Mic Rionn (Brandon Beemer) to bother much with business until investigative reporter Ned Nakamori (Henry Cho) goes public with a report that Marchetta's Ever Dew night cream causes severe blistering and scarring; even she can't ignore the ensuing scandal. That night the sisters accidentally burn down their house during a stress-relieving facial, and with no place to live and no money — their accounts are frozen — Tanzie and Ava must move in with their Colombian housekeeper, Inez (Maria Conchita). Inspired by a viewing of ERIN BROCKOVICH, they enlist a young legal-aid lawyer (Lukas Haas) and the cute guy (Marcus Coloma) who parks their car every morning to help them clear Victor's name and maybe even save the company. The Duffs are certainly cute together, but not even their natural chemistry can enliven all the preachy bits about hard work and the meaning of happiness: Let's face it, it's really all about the Mercedes, the Jimmy Choos, the sequined Sidekicks and Dior bags the sisters wear so well. And while it looks as though the girls will wind up dating down and be the better for it, the movie actually suggests that princesses should kiss the occasional working-class frog because a scruffy exterior just might conceal a privileged prince.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Writer-director Martha Coolidge (VALLEY GIRL) returns to teen-girl comedy with this light but listless vehicle for the sisters Duff, tween superstar Hilary and older sister Hayley. Cross the Olsen twins with the Hilton sisters and you get Ava and Tanzie Ma… (more)

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