12 August 2006 | Ddey65
Hoped for silliness -- got sappiness.
After reading a few messages about the book on IMDb, I knew I had to watch this. Prior to it's airing, I heard of the original title, and later had visions in my head of Danielle Panabaker dressed in a cheap superhero costume, fighting villains in the same manner as Rik Mayall's "People's Poet" from an episode of "The Young Ones," spouting out catchphrases so lame that even Archie comics wouldn't use them. Well, I was a little far from that, but still saw a fairly interesting story.
Kay Panabaker plays Jamie Bartlett, a girl struggling to survive the hierarchy of high school social life. She has three best friends, including one boy who has an obvious crush on her. Her father, ex-Even Stevens dad and legendary announcer Tom Virtue, runs a pizza parlor with her mother(Connie Young), and tries to experiment in oddball toppings. Jamie deals with the repressive tyranny of high school life by writing in a personal journal on a tablet computer, using fictional characters loosely based on the people she knows there. When she gets it mixed up with a school article for school and sends it off to be published in a school newspaper, the whole world finds out about it and her life starts to fall apart. Sounds like "Harriet the Spy," you say? Nope. Because unlike Harriet M. Welch, Jamie's private diary has an alter-ego, a semi-super-heroine named "Is," played by Kay's older sister Danielle... or at least that's what she is at first. Besides that, at first most people like her writing including her enemies.
The Great Isabella(Is) is sort of like Kim Possible with superpowers. She can do anything -- climb a rope in the gym, stroll through the halls of school zapping it's tormentors into permanent(or at least long-term) detention, get the boy of her dreams with ease, and appear only in front of Jamie. She also evolves from a heroine into a monster. Through Is, Jamie gains fortune and fame, gets her parents' pizza place some more business, gets to hang out with the school snobs who used to torment her, gets the boy of her dreams, and unfortunately nearly loses her friends, then everything else when she inadvertently reveals the inspiration for the villains in her book on a talk show. Who's going to get her out of this mess? Her parents? Her handler? Her protagonist? Her friends? The boy she loves? The boy who loves her?
Like Lizzie McGuire's Ashlie Brillault, Jamie's nemesis(Allison Scagliotti) looks much better than Jamie. Even when the trailers were shown, there's no doubting Kay's resemblance to her sister. Beyond that, she wears more make up than her older sister did in "Stuck in the Suburbs." The ending seems somewhat predictable, and unfortunately not believable. I don't think that after a Carrie-style attack on a high school dance, that the kids would be ready to get back into the music. But I suppose if you don't have incidents like these at school functions, they tend to become lame.
Some may see this as an excuse to get Danielle and Kay Panabaker to work together on the same project. That's okay by me. I saw Twitches(2005)(TV) as a lame excuse to keep the Mowry Sisters together one last time. Better DCOMs than this have existed, but this one is okay.