"You're all frosting and no cupcake," Lukas Haas tells Haylie Duff in so-called comedy Material Girls. He could be describing the movie, which director Martha Coolidge has whipped into such a fluffy saccharine mess and saturated with so much artificial colour it threatens to make your teeth drop out and shatter. Haylie and sister Hilary Duff just don't have the comedy stylings to sell this half-baked story of heiress sisters battling to save their dad's cosmetics empire from ruin.
Tanzie (Hilary) and Ava (Haylie) bounce onto the screen in a makeup commercial backed by Madonna's 80s anthem Material Girl. Alarm bells accompany the chorus but not a hint of irony. Instead, the Duff sisters try too hard to be wacky, kooky and ker-azy and fail to raise even a titter. Frankly though, the script doesn't give them much to work with. When their late father is accused of peddling toxic moisturiser, they decide it might be fun to play detectives and needlessly break into their own company files...
"RANDOM AND DESPERATE"
This might've been an amusing skit if the writers' weren't so obviously dependent on it to create intrigue. It fails on both counts. Every turn of the plot and stab at comedy feels random and desperate. Quite why Anjelica Huston participates in this bimbo-fest (as the rouge-lipped business rival) is a mystery. A subplot involving the sisters' Mexican housekeeper (Maria Conchita Alonso) aims to show they do have beating hearts beneath the designer bling, but it's lazily tacked-on and the mindlessly gushing portrayal of Inez borders on offensive. Paris Hilton's latest handbag could probably hold more interest than this claptrap.
Material Girls is released in UK cinemas on Friday 2nd March 2007.