Yes, I know what I've said before. I still stand behind it: Hilary Duff is a terrible actress and even more of a terrible singer. The plots in her movies are cringe-worthy, and she would be better off getting a job where she could just look chirpy and not actually have to do anything. Yet, I LOVED her movie "Raise Your Voice." Yes, the acting was dreadful. Yes, the writing was horrible. Yes, the general movie just plain sucked. However, I still recommend that everyone go see it. Simply because: it was the funniest bad movie I have EVER seen, especially when it was not trying to be.
Terri Fletcher is a young girl with a "great" voice. And, if great meant: "Completely unspectacular" then that would be completely true. If you are going to base an entire movie on someone's voice, then it would be advisable for that someone to have a decent voice. And while Hilary Duff's voice isn't fingernails-on-chalkboard- bad, it's kind of unsubstantial and slightly below the "okay" line. Anyway, Terri really wants to go to a summer music program, which her gruff, mean, dad is totally unsupportive of, and her "cool" older brother Paul totally thinks is awesome. After Terri sneaks her brother out of the house to go to a Three Days Grace concert, he dies in a car accident and she is seriously hurt, even though she still has eye shadow on when she wakes up at the Hospital. There is the typical "mother-waiting-by the bedside" scene, and then she is informed of her brother's death, has a "tragic moment", and she never wants to sing again. Now, at this point, I was about to shout "Hallelujah!" and jump out of my seat and go see a better movie. But then I remembered there was still over an hour to go.
Terri, of course, gets into the music program, and then goes to the school, where at first her peers are snobbish and mean, but, then, of course, she melts their hearts, and befriends a lot of them. She finds romance, in the form of a cute British boy, Jay, and wins the solo in the class song (of course), despite the other much better singers around her. There are only a few bright characters in this movie. One, the typical Goth girl who hardly talks, the other, the geeky boy who has an enormous crush on said Goth girl. And, despite my determination to hate EVERYTHING about this movie, it was kind of hard not to like them.
Okay, maybe I'm not being fair. After all, I did have some extenuating circumstances on hating this movie. The audience at the screening during the screening was an audience of people mostly like me, people who wanted to see this movie just to get a laugh. Every time Hilary Duff tried to look tragic, sing, or be "deep", there would be hysterical laughter. At the end of the movie, during the singing scene that seems to come at the end of ALL of her movies, people were cheering and clapping sardonically. And, unless you are a girl under nine or a total Hilary Duff fan, I think you'll have the same reaction.
So, in summary: Go see this movie. It's hilarious. But don't see it if you are expecting a good movie, or else it will end in tears.
This is Natalie Johnson for Movie Magazine.
© 2005 - Natalie Johnson - Air Date: 10/13/04
Raise Your Voice
USA, Rated PG, Running time: 103 minutes