The only real appeal of Bratz: The Movie is that it features a bunch of barely eighteen-year olds running around in high fashion (okay, not all of them are eighteen - so sue me). Of course, every logical reasoning mechanism in my brain warned me that Bratz was going to be an inane, clueless high school picture, and you know what? It is.
Bratz is based on the apparently popular pre-teen cartoon, which, from all evidence I've seen, is pretty bad and not something a responsible parent would want their little girl watching. As such, the movie is about what you'd expect, though I guess in the end it does try to squeeze in some good messages about friendship, being nice to people who aren't the same as you, and so on and so forth. Up until that point, however, the movie is mainly about young girls dressing up in nice clothes, becoming popular and enacting revenge on the bitchy "popular" girl in school. Basically, Bratz is your typical high school movie, only made with gloss and targeted at an even younger audience.
I'll admit it; the movie is watchable. It's not that I think Bratz is particularly good, and it certainly isn't original, but it moves at a fast enough pace with just enough silly antics to keep things going. It's a guilty pleasure to watch movies with clear cut, ruthless villains such as the one portrayed by Chelsea Staub (perhaps unrealistic, but fun to watch when they get destroyed), and Bratz at least has that going for it. The characters are likable enough, especially Yasmin (played by the youngest of the actresses, Nathalia Ramos) - her character is much more grounded and the most interesting of the bunch.
Still, the movie makes absolutely no attempt to be original, and the fact that it is so glossy and uninspiring makes it hard for someone like me to enjoy. The movie really does feel like an unintelligent version of Mean Girls (though I realize Bratz is targeting a completely different audience), and it's hard to get past that. The final fifteen minutes of the movie are also disastrous, as Bratz falls into complete cliche mode. The talent show ending is so stupid it's hard not to puke.
Bratz has its moments, admittedly, but it still has no real reason to exist. It does try to cram some thoughtful messages down our throats, but parents should be warned that the Bratz are hardly good role models.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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