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Raise Your Voice (2004) Wholesomeness needn't be boring in a young actress. Consider Mandy Moore, whose virginal eagerness is lit by a spark of inquiring delight; she's clean without… 2004-10-08 PG PT103M Hilary Duff Rebecca De Mornay Jason Ritter Ashlee Simpson Rita Wilson
Movie Review

Raise Your Voice (2004)

MPAA Rating: PG

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Hilary Duff, Raise Your Voice | DON'T LET ME FALL ON MY DUFF Raise your hand if you wanna see a warmed-over Fame
Image credit: Raise Your Voice:
DON'T LET ME FALL ON MY DUFF Raise your hand if you wanna see a warmed-over Fame
EW's GRADE
C-

Details Release Date: Oct 08, 2004; Rated: PG; Length: 103 Minutes; With: Hilary Duff

Wholesomeness needn't be boring in a young actress. Consider Mandy Moore, whose virginal eagerness is lit by a spark of inquiring delight; she's clean without being squeaky.

Hilary Duff, on the other hand, with her blond Barbie bangs, sugary princess voice, and coyly batting daddy's-girl eyelashes, is like a product of the Britney/Olsens teenbot assembly line, and so the scrubbed earnestness she displays in a movie like Raise Your Voice seems less a personality than a plea for attention. She's as emotionally dynamic as an Oreo cookie — a programmed flirt on the outside who's all sweetness and light on the inside. She makes me long for the comparatively Dostoyevskian depths of Sandra Dee.

In Raise Your Voice, a tween update of Fame, Duff plays a small-town girl with big pipes and bigger dreams who sets off for Los Angeles to attend the highly competitive three-week summer music program at the Bristol-Hillman Conservatory. Looking half as tall as everyone else in the movie (John Corbett, especially, towers over her as a saintly hippie vocal instructor), Duff is the breathy soft-pop angel in a pool of precocious exhibitionists. There's the hip-hop drum-machine geek, the pianist who broods like Morticia Addams, the mean-enough- to-be-head-cheerleader choral tart, and the spiky-haired lyricist (Oliver James) who becomes her collaborator in love. The cheesy unctuousness of Fame is that it passed off high school soap opera as artistic torment. I enjoyed the musical numbers in Raise Your Voice, including Duff's, but the rest of the film is too synthetic to even be called cheese.

Originally posted Oct 06, 2004 Published in issue #788 Oct 15, 2004 Order article reprints