Film Review: Life-Size 2!
Tyra Banks Ups The LGBTQ Inclusivity!
Like most gay Millennials, the moment I heard iconic Tyra Banks was creating a sequel to Disney’s Life-Size, I was squirming in my seat! As a little gay nine-year-old and an obsessive Lindsay Lohan fan, the original gave me absolute life growing up. Which flamboyant kid didn’t want to be Barbie, let alone see a mock version of her come to life on film? I was gagging over Banks confirming Lohan would indeed reprise her role as the young girl most related to in the first film, but then was a little disappointed that Lohan’s duty to film a reality show about her Mykonos club prevented her from appearing. Lohan’s original character is given a handful of shout outs throughout the sequel, but alas, she may have been blessed to sit out this time.
Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve is pretty lifeless if you’re looking at it as a movie for adults. It’s cheesy, unimaginable, there are plenty of plot holes, and many breakings of the fourth wall. Yet, if Millennials and critics would actually take a seat and understand this movie is for children, it can easily be enjoyed by anyone.
The film surrounds Grace Martin (Francia Raisa) as a spoiled, alcoholic, party girl who makes bad decisions and is alluded to being sexually fluid. She performs a seance to "raise" Banks’ Eve from her favorite doll to a human. Eve surprises Grace by waking up in her bed and Grace believes she had a one-night stand with a woman, something neither her friends or herself gives a second glance at because Grace is an alcoholic. She has more problems. Her mother, the creator of the Eve Dolls, is in jail and the toy company wants to discontinue Eve since she isn’t relating to modern kids. Yes, it’s so bizarre that it randomly works.
In typical fairytale fashion, Grace’s alcohol problems are quickly resolved with no real explanation, her mother is released from jail, and she eventually ends up with a hunky (male) neighbor as her primary love interest. After befriending her kid/neighbor, Grace decides to befriend a handful of children and learn what the whiny kids of today want: Inclusivity! Grace releases a new line of Eve Dolls with the help of her new teeny-tiny friends, and creates Woke Eve, Curvalicious Eve (with freckles!), Quarterback Eve, Love is Love Eve, and CEO Eve. Yes, you read that correctly: Curvalicious Eve. There’s some obstacles the characters overcome and seem to do so flawlessly within minutes in over the top Tyra-Banks-esque fashion, but again, this film isn’t for adults, except for a few big details.
Why Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve is characterized as a children’s film doesn’t really make sense. I was comforted to find so many incidences of LGBTQ inclusivity. Above, I mentioned the main character Grace believes she had sex with a woman and doesn’t care or kick her out of her home. Grace’s friends don’t blink an eye that she had sex with a woman upon meeting Eve, leading us to believe this probably happened before.
Speaking of Grace’s friends, openly-gay actor, Hank Chen, portrays Grace’s best friend and assistant, Brendan, who is dating one of Grace’s male colleagues. Grace and Brendan have a conversation regarding sexting between the film’s gay couple, which I’m sure pissed a hell of a lot of conservative parents off! Gossip-Blogger, Perez Hilton, makes a cameo as himself at a house party which he is definitely too old to be attending, but he’s there nonetheless. These little tidbits of normalizing LGBTQ relationships was great, but one particular character made me want to just *die* upon seeing him, in a good way.
Finally, I got to see a version of my childhood self on film! Life-Size 2 deserves an award for their portrayal of Milo (Niland Aran) who is one of Grace’s kid-neighbor’s best friend. It isn’t said, because it’s so apparent, but little Milo is a gay 10-year-old who is hanging out with only girls, obsessed with the Eve (nee: Barbie) dolls, and is even invited to participate in an all-girl sleepover where they pillow fight, dance, and think of ways to make Eve more, 2018. It is because of Milo that Eve gets many revamps, including a Love is Love Eve Doll, who sports rainbow attire as an extreme shout out to the LGBTQ community.
We all know Banks is a huge supporter of the gay community, but to have her really give a nod to little gay boys and girls who’d be watching Life-Size 2 was heartwarming and makes this film one to watch. We all know Eve’s motto, “Shine Bright, Be A Star”, and I’m pretty sure any flamboyant, gay boy watching this movie is going to feel just that upon its finish. Thanks Tyra!