My Scene Goes to Hollywood, an animated DVD feature starring Barbie® and the My Scene™ dolls, looks on the (glittery) surface like your typical cross-marketing effort aimed at preteen girls. There's nothing new about putting a Barbie® doll in a movie—just ask Todd Haynes, who found Barbie® dolls a convenient and artistically fertile substitute for chubby actors in his heavily litigated biopic Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. And Barbie® has starred in a number of Mattel-authorized films, including a series of animated DVDs like Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper (both!).
But Barbie® is no longer the leader of the pack. In the My Scene™ roster, she's just one of five trend-slave teens. And in the recent direct-to-DVD release My Scene Goes to Hollywood, the My Scene™ upstarts Madison™, Chelsea™, Nolee™, and Delancey™ (Mattel is all about names with clearly marked expiration dates) are joined by a couple of real people.
Though it's not advertised anywhere on the front of the DVD, My Scene Goes to Hollywood guest-stars Lindsay Lohan and Harvey Weinstein, who voice their own characters. And here's where the marketing gets double-crossed. Lohan owes her career to Disney, which produced her breakout film The Parent Trap; since then, she's been as closely identified with Disney as any actor since the days of the Hollywood studio system. Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and Herbie: Fully Loaded were all made by Disney or its subsidiaries. Harvey Weinstein, meanwhile, made a very public break from Disney earlier this year. Although Mattel introduced the My Scene ™ dolls in order to compete with MGA Entertainment's Bratz and Disney's Princesses dolls, the DVD is being distributed by a Disney subsidiary. Meanwhile, although it's clear why Lindsay Lohan would benefit from cementing her star status with the My Scene™ target audience, it's less clear why Weinstein would feel the need to make a cameo.
All this speculative drama is far more interesting than the DVD itself, which is a truly idiotic movie about a teenage extra who's plucked from the crowd to act opposite Lindsay Lohan. The lucky girl in question is Madison™, the curly-haired doll who likes horses. Lindsay Lohan's lines all have to do with how she loves fashion, just like Chelsea™, or how she adores skateboarding, just like Nolee™. The animation is mostly dull and occasionally disorienting (why did the craft services table need a 3-D pan?), and it's difficult to tell the dolls who aren't Madison™ apart—Barbie® is especially lacking in personality.
As stultifying as the star-search plot is, though, the special bonus features are perhaps worse. I hated the Chelsea's™ Celebrity Fashion Finder feature, mostly because I couldn't find the stupid sunglasses. And Madison's™ Superstar Challenge, which quizzes you on how to prep for a movie premiere, is horrifying. If you think you should have a sleepover with your friends the night before, you're wrong. If you think you should get a facial, you're right ("Facials are mega-fabulous!"). I pity 7-year-old girls.