With all apologies to Liza Minnelli, Bratz with a z simply goes zzzzz… Concerned about the parental outrage that’s plagued the doll line (take a look—the toys resemble tiny streetwalkers) since it was introduced in 2001, the team behind the movie has assembled four virtuous young misses of various races and socioeconomic backgrounds who choose friendship above all and gush, “My mom is my hero.” Here, BFF really stands for bland franchise film.
Yet the squeaky-clean veneer still can’t disguise the most deleterious effect of the Bratz phenomenon: maniacally promoting materialism. “What we have here is the League of Nations with a passion for fashion,” Avi Arad, one of the producers, says of the foursome in the press notes. “Passion for fashion” is chanted like a mantra as the girls get ready for school, vie for the talent-show award and overcome teen trauma. The tiny Stepford robots say they have other interests (chemistry, soccer, cheerleading, singing), but only at the mall do they really come to life. This summer’s Nancy Drew showed us a whip-smart girl who made do with simple skirts and circle pins; it quickly vanished from theaters. Let’s hope Todd Haynes will one day put the dollz to good use.