HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Rough Draft, A
Battle of the Godfathers
Lu Over the Wall
She's Funny That Way
Vox Lux
Aftermath, The
Five Fingers for Marseilles
Jupiter's Moon
Favourite, The
Mysteries of the Gods
Coming Home
De Sade
Patti Cake$
Hellbound
Final Destination 2
Romance
Bros: After the Screaming Stops
Cockleshell Heroes, The
Mule, The
Sunday in the Country
Nutcracker Fantasy
Spellcaster
Hipsters
Executive Action
Captain Marvel
Zombie Girl
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Rhinoceros
Monkey King 3, The
Adventurers, The
Stripped to Kill
Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
Aladdin's Magic Lamp
Christopher Robin
Hole in the Ground, The
Daniel
Blue Christmas
Death Trip
She's Missing
Return of the Soldier
   
 
Newest Articles
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
   
 
  Dear Dumb Diary Her Awesomeness is AwesomeBuy this film here.
Year: 2013
Director: Kristin Hanggi
Stars: Emily Alyn Lind, Mary-Charles Jones, David Mazouz, Sterling Griffith, James Waterston, Lea DeLaria, Maddie Corman, Laura Bell Bundy, Jeffrey Hanson, Tom Markus, Duane Stephens, Jacque Gray, Marlys Fladeland, Marie Sharon
Genre: Musical, Comedy, TV Movie
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Precocious schoolgirl Jamie Kelly (Emily Alyn Lind) keeps a diary where she documents her daily struggles at Mackeral Middle School which include competing with her nemesis, pretty and perfect Angeline (Sterling Griffith) for the boy of her dreams, Hudson Rivers (David Mazouz). When Jamie is not hanging with her ill-tempered troublemaker best friend Isabella (Mary-Charles Jones), dodging her mom's experimental cooking or indulging flights of fancy while bursting into song, she loves to paint and draw. So she is horrified when Assistant Principal Devon (James Waterston) says the art department might be first to go now the school faces severe cut-backs. Their only hope rests with a student winning the state's annual jump-rope competition or Jump-A-Thon. Naturally, perky Angeline volunteers to compete, so Jamie signs up too. With Isabella's help, Jamie sets out to show up her nemesis by collecting even more sponsors but ends up in a heap of trouble.

Written in the first person, Jim Benton's best-selling series of children's books have been compared with Sue Townsend's Secret Diary of Adrian Mole though one imagines the filmmakers behind Dear Dumb Diary had the hugely successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies in mind. In the wake of that boy-centric kid lit franchise producers have tried to tap into the tween girl end of the market with thus far only middling success. Both Ramona and Beezus (2010) and Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011) were likeable films but neither packed theatres quite like Wimpy Kid. Produced by kid lit champions Walden Media, Dear Dumb Diary was made for television and thus presumably considered a comparatively low-risk grab at a tricky demographic. It is girlier than a stack of glittery pink cupcakes. Kristin Kanggi styles the entire film to mimic the hyper-manic day-glo sensibility of the pre-teen heroine. She matches star Emily Alyn Lind's near-exhaustingly perky performance with a relentlessly sparkly mise-en-scene with zany animated flights of fancy and big splashy musical numbers.

Kanggi has a background in musical theatre. Having staged live shows for the Pussycat Dolls she went on to develop the original theatrical version of Rock of Ages but conceded directing duties to Adam Shankman for the disastrous movie adaptation. As a result of her skill the musical numbers are dynamic and visually engaging. It helps that the songs, though unlikely to impress those with mature musical tastes, are disarmingly witty and blessed with a catchy pop beat likely to beguile the under twelve set. Among the most memorable musical sequences are the jump-rope fantasia of "My Awesomeness is Awesome" wherein Jamie imagines herself dressed like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (2003) battling ninjas and the dour lunchlady's hilarious cabaret ode to the joys of meatloaf! Much of the film is winningly weird while on a psychological level certain aspects ring true, such as a child's tendency to misinterpret adult relationships or the way Jamie projects her own insecurities onto Angeline. She is so convinced the pretty blonde popular girl is out to get her she fails to realize her relationship with the comically, if alarmingly mean-spirited Isabella is more poisonous.

Coming of age stories often conclude when the child hero or heroine realizes the world is more complex than they thought it to be. Dear Dumb Diary negotiates that path but stumbles at the end where it abruptly takes back everything Jamie has learned for the sake of a cheap gag and muddles its own moral message. The film tries to have things both ways, on the one hand satirizing the upbeat philosophy of High School Musical (2005) (at several points a chirpy cheerleader echoes the HSM catchphrase "We're all in this together!" but ends up booed by her more cynical schoolmates) yet half-heartedly trots out the same platitudes. At least the musical comedy set-pieces are funny and the performances good. Brassy little Lind would make a great Annie (1982). The end credits have cast and crew sing along with Jamie's pop-rocker "Thanks for Listening", suggesting this was a fun experience for all. Some of that fun reverberates with the viewer.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1600 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: