According to Greta (2009) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
30Sep/101

According to Greta (2009)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny LIKEThe great bane in any film critic's life is what they do when they have a few drinks in them. Keep in mind, I'm a lightweight-- I didn't start drinking until I was 25, and even then I only get wasted a few times a year, which usually results in far more vomit than I'm comfortable with.

And while I'm sure Roger Ebert, having downed one too many bottles of Pinot Grigio, will pop in Benji the Hunted and go to town, I'm afraid my tastes are nowhere near as highbrow.

No, I go for the Hillary Duff movies.

My history with Duff's filmography is probably more complicated than any adult male's really has the right to be. In college, those halcyon days of mirth and humor, most of my spare time was stuck on the Disney Channel. I mean, given the other options of basic cable, I don't think I can be fully blamed for that.

Anyway, I ended up watching a lot-- a lot-- of "Lizzie McGuire." Many more people have much worse sins, but this is another of my confessions. It got to the point that my friends and I rented The Lizzie McGuire Movie and began to watch it repeatedly, viewing it as an exercise in high camp.

I was even tasked at one point with inventing a drinking game for the movie. However, this was before I had ever started drinking, so, in due course of the game, I almost killed several of my friends. I'm sorry, I did not understand that taking a swig every time there is a montage would be so dangerous-- even if there are at least ten of them in The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

What the hell am I leading into. Oh, that's right. According to Greta is star Hillary Duff's latest movie that I know about, and, for a Hillary Duff vehicle, surprisingly decent. It's not as brain dead as Raise Your Voice, Material Girls, or especially War, Inc., which did for Duff's career what meth chic seemed to do for Lindsey Lohan's.

Duff was the executive producer on Greta, so you already know that this is a movie made because she wanted to make it. And while no one will mistake it for an Oscar contender, no one will mistake it for most of the other crap work Duff has been turning in for the last few years.

Of course, as soon as I start describing it, you will question my sanity. Duff plays Greta, a teenager being shipped off to live with her grandparents in Jersey for the summer. She has severe mommy issues (she's sent away so that mom and husband number three can work out vaguely explained marital strife), and finds her grandparents stuffy and lame. She's told to get a job and straighten up, but, as a teenager, rebels in a stereotypical manner.

This sounds like a formula for a fairly rote family drama-- Will Duff meet a cute boy? Will she and her family reconcile the authority issues that they all seem to share?-- and truthfully it is for the most part.

But the most surprising thing about it that Duff isn't half bad. Having made her image on cartoon melodramas, she plays this character mostly straight and unwavering. It helps enormously that her performance is matched up by Ellen Burstyn as her grandmother, who wisely doesn't play the character as a saint, but as a real character dealing with a real troublemaker. Their chemistry makes According to Greta rise above mediocrity and attain some level of sweet, honest respectability.

Okay, mind you, I've been drinking a bit. Not a lot, but a bit. But According to Greta is better than it has any right to be.

And now I'm going to go lay down now.

According to Greta (2009)

This film is currently available on DVD and Netflix Instant.

Directed by Nancy Bardawil
Starring Hillary Duff and Ellen Burstyn

Posted by Danny

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  1. man hillary duff is smoking hot!!!


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