According to Greta (2009) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Drama / Romance|
|Anchor Bay || PG13 - 92 minutes - $34.98 || January 19, 2010|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-01-11|
Writer(s): Michael Gilvary (written by)
Cast: Hilary Duff, Evan Ross, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Murphy
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According the Greta is pop-singer Hilary Duff’s latest endeavor into less sunshine and lollypop territory playing an obnoxious bratty, sassy teenager who, when the film opens, is on a bus to stay the summer with her grandparents (MICHAEL MURPHY, ELLEN BURSTYN). She carries with her a notebook filled with typical teenage stuff but also a “Things to do before I die” list as she has suicidal thoughts.
In the quant New Jersey town, she huffs and puffs about her unfortunate situation, insults the elderly blue-haired neighbor and through her hotness and determination, gets a job waiting on tables only to insult customers despite making great tips. While working there, she is befriended by line cook Julie (EVAN ROSS) and soon a young romance is blooming but not all is roses as Greta still acts out and Julie gets tired of her antics.
What follows are some more melodrama between Greta and her grandparents. It took all of my will to actually sit through the entire (and short) 92-minute running time. Her character is beyond annoying and I never could care about her outcome. I like Hilary Duff, in fact I think she’s an OK actress if given the right material, but in this case the material didn’t suit her, hell I wonder what young actress it would’ve suited.
It is unfortunate the writing of the character, albeit possibly realistic given her past tragedy and all she’s been through, but actually Michael Murphy and the always reliable Ellen Burstyn are both great and the only reasons I kept this above a bad rating. When we see the interactions between Murphy and Duff, the film thankfully slows down and you actually begin to care before she goes back into a tailspin and it goes back into the cycle and praying the movie would end.
** SPOILER WARNING **
The main issue I had beyond Duff’s bratty character was the movie is a little too simplistic on how messed up Greta really is. She’s acting out talking about suicide and in a pivotal moment in the movie, actually goes through with it. It is then revealed that she had walked in on her father committing suicide. It was then, speaking with Greta’s boyfriend, her grandfather pondered whether something like would follow her. You think, gramps? And at the end, rather than more than forcibly suggest Greta seek professional help, part of the answer is to spend more time with mom and grandma going through old photos and bring the family closer together. I know the movie doesn’t suggest this will make her better, but it just seemed like a cheap and easy out.
** END SPOILERS **
Overall, I cannot recommend According to Greta despite a half-decent performance from Hilary Duff and a good one out of Michael Murphy. The main character is just too obnoxious to carry a viewer through for 90-minutes. I know that teenage angst is over-the-top and is probably as melodramatic as portrayed in the film, however that doesn’t mean I want to spend an hour and a half watching it. It’s just too much.
Greta was directed by Nancy Bardawil making her feature film debut. It was written by Michael Gilvary (feature length debut) and executive producer by Hilary Duff herself.
Not a whole lot here but a behind the scenes featurette (18:39), a few throwaway deleted/alternate scenes (7:17) and an equally useless alternate ending (1:34). I should note that they are all presented in glorious... 480p standard definition.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
According to Greta is presented with a 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. I have to say, the video looks pretty good with nice balance of colors while detail levels were good as well. It’s not going to wow you or anything but still it’s a respectable video transfer.
The English TrueHD 5.1 track isn’t great but acceptable in my book. The dialogue levels are clear enough and the score/soundtrack makes use of most of the channels, but that’s the extent of audio.
According to Greta is a movie with good intentions but the screenplay falls flat with a character so awful and rude that it’s just hard to root for the woman to succeed, and it’s not really Hilary Duff’s fault as I think other young actresses would’ve had the same issues. So, unless you’re a diehard Duff fan and want to see her do something darker and more dramatic, this might make for a rental, otherwise wait for this to air on TV.