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Material Girls (2006) Print E-mail
Monday, 04 April 2011
ImageTo my surprise, “Material Girls” was actually released in theaters.  I thought for sure that the film was direct-to-video.  After giving it a watch it should have stayed on the shelf.  It seems that filmmakers were simply intent on capitalizing on the sweetness of the Duff sisters rather than provide us with any substantial content.

I am taking this film for what it is, and even then it falls deep into the abyss of terrible films.  Hilary Duff’s “Beauty & The Briefcase” was at least cute and right on target for its demographic.  However, the insults created by “Material Girls” are astounding.  Seriously, watch the film and then think to yourself, the studio actually thought this is a type of film that I would like to watch.  It is insulting.

Bringing the Duff sisters together for a film is a great idea.  They are both attractive and spirited individuals.  However, this was not the right film for them to come out to.  “Material Girls” lacks any type of originality or even any type of entertainment.  The characters follow the illogical clues and make to the opposite of any intelligent decisions.

Were the events of the film to actually occur, there is far too easy of a route to take to and have the entire issue resolve.  However, the girls find themselves sneaking around trying to solve a mystery that they legally have a right to uncover.

Hilary and Haylie Duff portray Tanzie and Ava Marchetta, heiresses to a cosmetics Fortune 500 company.  They are also the faces of Marchetta.  They live the stereotypical Hollywood movie lifestyle.  They go to parties and live the most spoiled lives.  They are vacuous and without a care in the world.  Tanzie attempts some semblance of drive by trying to get into UCLA as a chemistry major.  Ava simply thinks of planning the best wedding engagement party of all-time.

When a scandal breaks, claiming that a Marchetta product causes severe scarring and skin reactions, the girls’ lives are turned upside down.  This is where the film turns into true cookie-cutter stuff.  Their “so-called” friends turn their backs on them.  The girls carelessly burn down their own house.  Umm, excuse me but how hard is it to put out a little fire on the living room rug.  You could go to the kitchen and fill up a jug of water and still get back in time to put out the fire.  Instead, what do the girls do?  They turn a couch cushion or two on the fire.  And by the way, who throws a lighted cigarette casually over their shoulder into the living room?  Anyone?
So, now we come to my next favorite part, the part in which the girls drive into the barrio of Los Angeles and actually think that a couple of gangstas are there to valet their car.  Can you honestly tell me anyone is that vacuous.  Fast forward a bit and we find that the girls have no idea that they need to pay to ride the bus.  The film continues in this fashion for 90 minutes.  The girls don’t make one intelligent decision.  It just becomes too much for us to believe that anyone can be that naïve.

As a newer film, well five years old already, but still I would have expected a better transfer.  There are several speckles and scratches on the print.  They are never really distracting, but they are there.  I guess it can be expected from a stock Blu-ray release.  There isn’t much in the way of edge enhancement or noise reduction.  Details are generally good.  The costumes have nice textures.  The colors are vibrant and only occasionally intrusive.  The girls’ costumes and makeup are featured prominently in every sequence.  The black levels are decent but still tend toward a gray resolve.  My biggest complaint with the transfer is the amount of banding.  The banding takes the form of patterned film grain.  However, visually it looks much like power interference.  This wavy, vertical banding is quite distracting.

The audio quality is good and likely accurate to the source.  The DTS-HD MA track is basically a mash of dialogue and pop music.  There are no real dynamics to speak up.  Music is compressed and pumped up to the max, much like music in a made-for-TV movie.  The dialogue is generally clear.  However, the timbre of the dialogue changes quite drastically from one sequence to the next.  ADR is atrocious.  I lost count how many times the lips moved to different spoken lines.  I digress.  This is not the fault of the transfer.  Still, the audio track lacks any real envelopment.  Instead it relies on constant bombardment.  The audio transfer is true to the source, but the source is horrendous.

“Material Girls” comes to Blu-ray with a half of dozen or so special features, which are all typical of the film’s genre.  There is actually and audio commentary with the director, Martha Coolidge.  I would have much preferred a commentary with the Duff sisters.  “Getting To Know Hilary And Haylie As The Marchetta Sisters,” “Cast Of Characters” and “The Making Of ‘Material Girls’” are easy enough to understand, but provide little informative detail.  Lastly, there is a Music Montage and a music video of “Play With Fire.”

“Material Girls” is a definite skip.  Even if you adore the Duff sisters, this is still hard one to sit through.  Do yourself a favor and skip it.  However, if you insist on picking up this title, you can expect some decent audio and video qualities, but nothing really more than glorified high-definition.

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