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  Read It and Weep High School Confidential
Year: 2006
Director: Paul Hoen
Stars: Kay Panabaker, Danielle Panabaker, Alexandra Krosney, Marquise Brown, Allison Scagliotti, Jason Dolley, Chad Broskey, Tom Virtue, Connie Young, Robin Riker, Nick Whitaker, Falisha Fehoko, Malinda Money, Joyce Cohen, K.C. Clyde
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, TV MovieBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: High school girl Jamie Bartlett (Kay Panabaker) writes a journal in her tablet PC, in which her supercool alter-ego, Is (Danielle Panabaker) does and says the things she only dreams about. In the real world Jamie is a total outsider, hopeless in gym, bullied by popular girl Sawyer (Allison Scaglioti), and harbouring a hopeless crush on high school hunk Marco Vega (Chad Broskey). But in her fantasy kingdom, Is proves stylish, sassy and athletic, zaps the evil cheerleader “Myrna” into dust and breaks hearts wherever she goes. When Jamie inadvertently e-mails her diary instead of a homework assignment, she is horrified to find the whole school reading it the next day. But the kids love her “fictional” story. The book becomes a national bestseller, catapulting Jamie to media celebrity, which alienates her from friends Lindsay (Marquise Brown), Harmony (Alexandra Krosney), and Connor (Jason Dolley), who is secretly in love with her.

A Disney made-for-TV movie, Read It and Weep is a vehicle for real life sisters, Kay and Danielle Panabaker. Each carries the action quite ably, with Kay quite striking in her transition from lovable ditz to total meltdown on live TV. As the imaginary Is, who appears in phantom form to dispense advice, Danielle slowly morphs into a glamorous monster urging Jamie to ditch her friends and values (a subplot works in an eco angle) to become a publicity hungry media diva.

Popularity going to one’s head is a reoccurring theme in high school movies. Based on the novel “How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller” by Julia De Villers, Read It and Weep slightly misses a trick by conforming to cliché - popular kids are evil, “uncool” kids have right on their side. Although good old Connor sticks by Jamie when the truth inevitably comes out and the whole school hates her, slightly smug animal rights activist Lindsay and artistically inclined Harmony feel justified in wanting to dump a ton of seaweed on her during the prom night climax. Like many recent Disney movies, this views showbiz as a soul-sucking nightmare and sends out mixed messages, but is witty and truthful in parts.

Screenwriters Patrick J. Clifton and Beth Rigazio successfully capture the ultimate teen embarrassment of having private thoughts made public knowledge, craft amusing subplots that cleverly feed back into the main narrative, and note that while Jamie makes mistakes she is also quite insightful. A lot of this equally down to Kay Panabaker, who stays vulnerable and sympathetic no matter how out of control things get. Naturally she tries to take control of her runaway id monster and steer things back for a pop rock happy ending.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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