Here’s a summary of the first few minutes of Read it and Weep:
- Jamie Bartlett (Kay Panabaker) accidentally submits her personal sketchbook for an English class assignment
- Her teacher likes it so much that she submits it to a literary agent
- It is published and nationally distributed
- It become a major bestseller
Totally plausible, right?
I don’t automatically write the movie off for its pre-teen wish fulfillment high concept. There are plenty of movies in that category I love! And I don’t even mind the low production values; it is a made-for-TV “DCOM” after all.
What I do hold against Read It and Weep is that most of it is so utterly bland. It’s not even vanilla. It’s filmic paste of the consistency and flavor of wet sand… with one major exception.
Read It and Weep has one absolutely wild twist up its sleeve that I was not prepared for: It goes full Tyler Durden with lead actor Kay Panabaker’s sister Danielle Panabaker playing mean-girl alter-ego Is (as in Isabella).
And it’s even weirder than that. The alter ego will abruptly change location within a scene, creating a disorienting false reality. The camera whips and quick-cuts, visually capturing Jamie’s disorientation. Given the intended audience, I imagine this was many viewer’s first experience with fracturing the 180-degree rule to capture psychological breakdown.
Whenever the movie is toying with Jamie’s split personality, it’s so unexpectedly wild that it’s actually pretty fun. But that also makes up a relatively small portion of the film.
The rest of the movie is run-of-the-mill TV fodder. Not unpleasant, but never cinematic. The cast more or less works, especially the pair of Panabakers and Allison Scagliotti as the nasty cheerleader (Mindy from Drake and Josh!). It’s just such basic tween sitcom material that it’s hardly worth watching if you’ve aged out of the American Girl dolls.
Not Very Good (3/8)
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.