Monday, October 16, 2006

Movie Review: Me, Eloise (DVD)

U.S. Release Date: 10/10/06 (DVD)
Running Time: 0:45
Rated: NR
Cast: Mary Matilyn Mouser, Tim Curry, Curtis Armstrong, Lynn Redgrave, Kathleen Gati

Director: Wes Archer
Producers: Stephen Brown, Morris Berger, John W. Hyde, Patrick Meehan, Thomas D. Adelman, Ken Lipman
Screenplay: Steven Goldman and Ken Lipman, based on Kay Thompson’s “Eloise”
Music: Megan Cavallari
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

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Combine the animated expression of Amelia Bedelia and the juvenile silliness of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and you arrive at the Kay Thompson-inspired effort entitled Me, Eloise. Bearing an especially striking resemblance to the Home Alone sequel, Me, Eloise possesses a main character who resides in the Plaza Hotel. What’s more, is that Me, Eloise’s hotel manager is voiced by Tim Curry—the very same man who condoned Kevin McAllister for committing credit card fraud. After viewing Me, Eloise, one can naturally suppose that the Tim Curry actually mans the Plaza Hotel. Additionally, it is entirely logical to assume that a film like Me, Eloise is a leading example of what is primarily wrong with the upbringings of the youth of America.

Eloise (Mary Matilyn Mouser) is, simply put, a brat who lacks parental guidance. She is an adolescent aristocrat and a self-defined “city child,” who soaks up every ounce of attention like a dehydrated sponge. Her mother frequents Paris on business, and more often than not, her “Nanny (Lynn Redgrave)” is her lone guardian. Much to her Nanny’s dismay, Eloise is a basket-case adventurer and a snooty youngster. As one young male points out, “Eloise thinks she’s the most ‘specialest’ girl in the hotel.” The average viewer will repeat this phrase and most likely replace the last word with “universe.”

On the day before her sixth birthday, Eloise hands out invitations to her birthday bash. As Eloise’s excitement mounts, an eight-year-old named Yuko arrives at the Plaza and steals Eloise’s thunder. Yuko is a Japanese violin prodigy, who is constantly under the strict control of her rich parents and her “grouchy butt” aid named Mr. Zanger (Curtis Armstrong – better known as...Booger from Revenge of the Nerds). Zanger forces Yuko to practice, practice, and practice— leaving it up to the soon-to-be six-year-old to liberate Yuko and show her what the word “fun” really means.

With a main character that is loud, disrespectful, and overly selfish, Me, Eloise presents its lead as far from the role model she should be. Likewise, the screenplay has enough spurts of entertainment to count on less than one half of one hand.

The most irritating aspect of Me, Eloise is the stuck-up temperament of Eloise’s sophisticated word choice. With phrases like, “absolutely exquisite,” “rather unusual,” “quite fabulous,” “amazingly huge,” and “very enormously well,” Eloise goes above and beyond the typical six-year-old girl’s vocabulary and crosses the line of excessive adverb usage. In addition, when she asks the question, “Whatever are we waiting for?” and describes a bird as being “grisly,” the audience balks at the idea of accepting her as a cute and genuine young protagonist. Furthermore, with notions of spoiling family dinners, pulling fire alarms, crashing weddings, and causing innocent people to fall, Eloise borders on bully – not sweetheart – stature.

If you are a parent seeking to buy an educational and inspiring DVD for your child, Me, Eloise will not fulfill your wishes. Unless you want your daughter to add a side of snob to her personality, beg for lavish gifts, and strive to be the center of attention, avoid Me, Eloise. It’s basically devoid of a lasting lesson and a much-needed sense of familial love. While the DVD case for Me, Eloise may look bright, attractive, and fitting for a young princess, its insides are spoiled. (*1/2 out of ****)

© Copyright Brandon Valentine 2006