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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Raise Your Voice (review)

Oh, the comparisons just come so easily: Like Coyote Ugly, only sillier. Like Crossroads, only sickening-sweeter. Like every other vehicle for a teenage pop queen, only exactly the same. Hilary Duff (Cheaper by the Dozen), as Hilary Duff(TM), heads to a summer program in Los Angeles at the way coolest music conservatory in the country, maybe even the universe, against the wishes of her hard-nosed dad (David Keith: Daredevil), who just wants to protect his little girl from the horrors of, I dunno, palm trees and balmy breezes, or something. There, all the other students are cool and confident, which translates as “let’s be mean to the country girl” (that would be Hilary), because she, in an arcane, alien teendom I am clearly now too old to understand, is somehow a “weirdo misfit.” When I was a kid, all band nerds were weirdo misfits, but I guess there’s been some sort of schism in high school culture that I haven’t heard about. An English boyfriend (Oliver James: What a Girl Wants) has been imported at great expense, an adolescent boy far more sensitive and articulate than most grown metrosexuals, and between him and Hilary’s calculated teen triumph, Dad will be won over and the planet saved from something or other. Now, can someone save us from stolidly conventional, totally unoriginal movies about how creative people are so unconventional and original?


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MPAA: rated PG for thematic elements and language

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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