Some of you might not forgive me for this, but…I just finished watching ‘Picture This.’ Yeah, I know, the straight-to-DVD preteen flick starring Ashley Tisdale, also known as queen bee ‘Sharpay’ in the High School Musical triology. I’m not really sure what compelled me to waste a good Wednesday night like that, but I actually drew a couple conclusions from the movie that I figured were worth writing down.
I know. I’m surprised, too. 🙂
The cotton-candy plot of ‘Picture This’ revolves around a nobody named Mandy Gilbert (Tisdale), who goes to a school full of Kens and Barbies. One of the Kens, though, stands out, because he is DREW PATTERSON (gasp!), the hottest guy in school. And, of course, Mandy has been in love with him since seventh grade. If this were real life, she would be labeled a creeper, but since this story was only meant to be played out on 42″ plasma flatscreens, it’s considered cute, sweet and romantic. I’ll roll with that.
Anyways, so the day of Mandy’s 18th birthday, she receives a video phone and contacts (to replace her oh-so-dorky glasses), and immediately catches the eye of DREW PATTERSON (swoon!). However, two obstacles stand in her way of being with the boy of her dreams: her uptight, uber-controlling father and Lisa, DREW PATTERSON’s (faint!) girlfriend. In order to get to DREW PATTERSON’s (OMG!) party after being grounded, Mandy concocts various schemes to fool her dad via videophone, who is calling her every 1/2 hour to make sure she is being studious at her friend’s house. Ten hundred deceptions later, Mandy ends up in the arms of DREW PATTERSON (oh no she didn’t!) and is crowned his prom princess for a happy ending. Oh, and after all the deception (that her dad somehow bought…idk), Mandy’s father decides to tell her that he is going to let go, not be controlling anymore, and trust her to make her own decisions, even after Mandy disrespects him with her words and actions throughout the 92-minute film.
Other negative elements included a Magic 8 ball consultation, a seance conducted by high school girls (a scene that honestly creeped ME out) and a 6-year-old watching “Girls Gone Bonkers” and imitating his uncle’s use of profanity.
Wait…what just happened?
I guess what I’m wondering is what kind of message this movie can possibly convey. Is it that lying and disrespect have no consequences? Or is it just inadvertently rewarded?
The message that witchcraft is a way to get what you want came across pretty clear.
This movie was marketed toward the HSM crowd, which lands smack-dab in the preteen/teenager female bracket. Having been a member of that group at one point in my life, I know how hard it is to grow up with messages being constantly thrown at me, including the oft-repeated lines, “You should wear makeup,” “You should dress like a girly girl,” “You should really learn how to do your hair.”
Finding my identity was hard enough with that kind of pressure, but now that I look back…the average 13-year-old girl in 2008 has to deal with the pressure of taking a picture of herself naked and sending it to her crush. Or wearing barely-there clothing to achieve the newly-remastered-Britney look. Or, with the plot of this movie in mind, lying and deceiving to get what she wants. And Hollywood can somehow pull that off and say it’s a great life, and if you’re not living it, then you’re a loser.
My heart aches for these girls. Issues like porn and witchcraft shouldn’t have to be dealt with by kids who are struggling to make it through puberty, much less life.
The disrespect of parents issue is huge. Even if parents are super-controlling and don’t seem to understand, that doesn’t mean that they deserve less respect from their children, much less deceit and lies. I have had more struggles in this area of my life than I care to count, but in the midst of my hardships with my parents…I am working very hard to do my best to respect them. The ability to respect authority is a concept that has been lost on the younger generation.
The morals of ‘Picture This,’ if there were any to begin with, died a grisly death within the first 5 minutes of the film. Unlike the fairy-tale ending Mandy experienced with DREW PATTERSON (I’m out of witty exclamations), real-life teenage girls have to deal with the consequences of their actions. I hope they choose the exact opposite path of Mandy Gilbert.
~ no holds barred ~