Before Lindsay Lohan became a household name with Mean Girls in 2004, she was still an active Disney shill in movies like The Parent Trap, Get A Clue, Freaky Friday, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen and, of course, 2000’s Life-Size with Tyra Banks.
As a made for TV movie, the requisite cheesiness of the story is built-in. However, it seemed as though writer-director Mark Rosman (no stranger to the Disney scene with his other work on Model Behavior, Lizzie Maguire and Even Stevens) was trying to say something more than just “be yourself” with this narrative.
As a matter of point, Rosman emphasizes that the youth of America has lost its imagination via the words of a toy store saleswoman who laments, “It used to be we couldn’t keep the dolls on the shelves. Now all kids want is high-tech this, high-tech that.” And though this line is part of the aforementioned cheesiness of the movie, there was, indeed, something prophetic to it as the 00s saw the rise of Motorola Razr phones and MacBooks that looked like purses, among other technological fare.
The shifting adolescent focus at the dawn of the new millennium (remember that phrase?) means the death of Eve (Tyra Banks), a line of dolls that are meant to “inspire girls everywhere.” After Casey (Lohan), the bereaved protagonist of the story, partially shoplifts a spell book (partially in that she paid for some of it before fleeing) in order to conjure her recently deceased mother back to life, she ends up bringing her unwanted birthday present, Eve, from her father’s co-worker, to life instead.
While, of course, Casey, a tomboyish type who plays football, initially despises Eve, particularly because of her father’s interest in her, her heart is eventually won over by Eve’s genuine and caring nature. This rare form of interaction–the kind that used to be so prevalent among a girl and her doll–is part of Life-Size‘s attempt to have warned the generation of that moment to take a long, hard look at their isolating, selfishness promoting toys in the mirror. Obviously, it didn’t work very well as a cautionary tale based on the current toy landscape, or lack thereof.