Plot: What’s it about?
The lap of luxury is where Tanzie (Hilary Duff) and Ava (Haylie Duff) have always lived life, as daughters of the founder of the Marchetta Cosmetics empire. The sisters have never wanted for anything, with no limit expense accounts, their pick of male companions, and a social life that few could ever hope to live. After their father’s death, the company was run by the second in command Tommy Katzenback (Brent Spiner), a trusted family friend for many years. As time passed, the girls showed up for meetings from time to time, but paid little attention to how the corporation was run. The financial situation has been on the downturn, but with an offer on the table from rival Fabiella (Anjelica Huston), the sisters could rake in over $100 million. The sisters are hesitant to sell however, with their father’s legacy in mind. But then a scandal breaks, as cases begin to emerge of damage from the Marchetta products, crushing the company’s position. Now Fabiella’s offer is greatly reduced, but Tommy advises to sell, before the situation worsens. But the sisters are certain their father wouldn’t make a product that harms people, so they decide to look into the claims for themselves. But when they lose their home, car, and credit cards, will they be able to survive, let alone mount an investigation?
This is perhaps the safest movie I ever seen. The tension is absent in total, even if the girls fail in their mission, they each get $60 million to live on. So yes, the point of the story is whether the girls get $60 million or $100 million, not exactly riveting stuff. And the lesson learned is a minor one, as the girls want to protect their father’s legacy, but no real evolution happens with the characters. The girls remain about the same throughout, so we don’t see a change in heart or any other kind of meaningful lessons. On the whole, the movie is drawn out and takes far too long to move through what little plot is found here. The pace is slow, which is not a good choice with such light, brisk material. I think at least ten and maybe fifteen minutes could have been trimmed, making a more compact, effective picture. The only real draw here is Hilary Duff, who does her best Erin Brockovich in a scene that justifies a rental. Duff is as hot as ever and while her performance is middling, she is fun to watch and seems to have fun with the role. Her sister Haylie isn’t as hot or fun to watch, but the two work well together, so no real complaints there. Material Girls should have been a light, fun comedy, but instead, it is a slow paced, chore to watch outside of Hilary Duff’s presence. So if you’re a big fan of Hilary, then give it a rental, but otherwise, this one is better left unseen.
Video: How does it look?
Material Girls is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version included on the disc’s flip side. The print used is very clean, with no serious defects, but there is a tad more grain present than I would like. The nature of the film used causes some grain to be appear, but I expected a cleaner print in that respect. But this never proves to be a huge issue, though some softness is evident throughout. Not a worn kind of softness mind you, more of a dreamy haze, but still, I figured this would have a slick, refined visual presence. Even so, the contrast is smooth and colors have a bright, bold appearance. So not as pristine and slick as I expected, but this is still a more than solid visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a dialogue driven comedy and as such, the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track won’t overload your speakers. I wasn’t displeased with this mix though, as the music sounds terrific and the dialogue emerges in fine form also. The music is the usual soft pop rock variety, which is a natural fit for this material. The vocals come across in crisp & clear fashion, with no clarity or volume issues in the least. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary has been included, but sadly, no Hilary involvement. I would think Hilary and Haylie would have given a great session, but instead we have director Martha Coolidge. I wasn’t too taken with this track, as it has a lot of silence and too much back patting. The movie is thin and has few positives, yet Coolidge often acts as if this is the next Citizen Kane. This disc also includes a Hilary Duff music video, as well as two brief, promotional featurettes.