Once upon a time, Hilary Duff was the reigning Princess of Tween Disney. She had movies, CDs, a clothing line at Wal-Mart. Sound familiar? The Princess crown has long since been passed on to Miley Cyrus, and Ms. Cyrus is enjoying the final flickering of her time on the throne. Since Hilary Duff left the Disney scene, she’s had a few moderate hits but nothing more. She’s had more time on TMZ than she’s had in anything else recently. In an effort to jumpstart her career, Ms. Duff has produced and stars in the teen angst dramedy According to Greta.
Greta is a disturbed teen, thrown out of her home by her mother (Academy Award nominated Melissa Leo, Frozen River) and forced to live with her grandparents for the summer. Greta is extremely sarcastic and rebellious and informs her grandparents (played by Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn, Requiem for a Dream, and Michael Murphy, Away From Her) that she intends on killing herself before the summer is over. She even keeps a journal that she fills with various suicide ideas strapped to her wrist. She refuses to abide by any rules set forth by her grandparents, but when they deny her any going out money, she is forced to get a job at a local restaurant. At the restaurant, a cook named Julie (Evan Ross, ATL) takes a liking to her so Greta begins seeing him. However she treats everyone like garbage, it’s a wonder she can get anyone to like her at all.
Teens are angsty and dramatic, I get it. But Greta is completely over the top. She is disrespectful to her boss at work, she is flat out rude to every customer, and she stabs Julie in the back with personal information that he had shared with her in private – and yet everyone thinks she’s just so charming! The only people who don’t find her ruse to be amusing are the retired people in town. Her grandparents attempt to use tough love on her, but it doesn’t work. Even when Greta’s grandmother forces her to apologize to another older lady in the community, Greta goes along, but then threatens the old lady. Even at the very end of the movie when everything is supposedly resolved, Greta is still a spoiled brat. At least she’s gotten rid of that horrid journal though.
It’s a miracle that such high caliber stars could be secured for a movie like this. Ellen Burstyn is the brightest spot in this movie, but that’s no surprise. All she has to do is walk into a room and a film is instantly improved. Another bright spot in the film is the performance given by Evan Ross. He exudes charm, more the reason why I was angered with him settling for Greta. Melissa Leo is extremely underused, only making her appearance at the very end of the film. Hilary Duff needs to find better material if she wishes to branch out of her Tween Disney image (a dilemma also shared by Ms. Miley Cyrus). Other than tabloid pictures of her with her boyfriends, she really hasn’t done much recently to help her transition into a more grown-up role. According To Greta isn’t going to help her either.
This release is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The atmosphere in the film is depressing, as the setting is a New England retirement town where it is always overcast. The video quality is fine for a film with a setting and tone such as this.
Greta: Behind the Scenes – A making of featurette about casting, with interviews by just about every cast member except for Hilary Duff. Although they do talk about how considerate she was of her fans while shooting the film, it would be nice if the star/producer came on to talk about the film. (18:51)
Deleted and Alternate Scenes – None of these are important to the film. I’m not sure if it was my copy, but some of these didn’t have audio. Some also had titles and some didn’t. Very strange. (7:42)
Alternate Ending – An alternate ending that is almost completely the same as the one used in the film. The only thing that changed was the appearance by Evan Ross…what? (1:44)
According to Greta is an annoying movie. I give the content of the movie one star but that’s just for Ellen Burstyn and the supporting cast. And even they can’t save this one. Not at all recommended.
Starz/Anchor Bay presents According To Greta. Directed by: Nancy Bardawil. Starring: Hilary Duff, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Murphy, Melissa Leo, Evan Ross. Written by: Michael Gilvary. Running time: 92 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: January 19, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Jenny is proud to be the First Lady of Inside Pulse Movies. She gives female and mommy perspective, and has two kids who help with rating family movies. (If they don't like 'em, what's the point?) She prefers horror movies to chick flicks, and she can easily hang with the guys as long as there are several frou-frou girlie drinks to be had.