life-size 2- a life-sized disaster

Freeform’s Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve might very well be the best worst thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a true 80-minute travesty of absent direction, lazy acting, half-assed messages, and this dumpster fire is available for streaming on Hulu right now. My ribs still hurt from laughing so hard at this mess that it gets my full endorsement. Gather ’round the TV this Christmas and make it a new tradition. Watch with your friends, neighbors, and everyone else. Share the joy of Life-Size 2 this holiday season.

Okay, so I’m going to give a brief rundown of the p l o t before I tear into this one because it’s so nonsensical and half-written that a synopsis is essentially a replacement for commentary. Life-Size 2 is the sequel to 2000’s Life-Size, which starred a young Lindsay Lohan and Tyra Banks. The sequel follows a new protagonist, Grace Martin, a young woman who becomes CEO of Marathon Toys after her mother, the company’s founder, is sent to jail. The board of directors is considering discontinuing the company’s popular “Eve” doll, essentially a Barbie doll, due to waning popularity and the company’s difficulties with competition from online retailers. Grace, being a young party girl with no business experience, goes along with the plan because Eve doesn’t really matter to her. However, Grace’s young neighbor, Lex, wants Grace to reconsider the decision, and the two of them attempt a magical spell to save the company. This spell brings Grace’s own Eve doll to life. Life-size Eve (played by Tyra Banks) quickly teaches Grace to accept her inner child and understand the importance of  Eve dolls. It is revealed that an evil member of Marathon Toys’ board is attempting to take power away from Grace, but I don’t remember that guy’s name because the movie doesn’t care either. Eve wants to save the dolls because all of the dolls actually live in a  world called Sunnyvale, and the discontinuation of the toy line would bring about an end to Sunnyvale. When Grace realizes the importance of the dolls, Lex suggests that what they need to do is modernize Eve. The movie reaches its climax at the Marathon Toys shareholder meeting. Evil board member planned to use the event to take over as CEO, but lo and behold! Grace and Eve show up and unveil the new modern Eve dolls in a big rap number. We are gifted with Woke Eve, Love is Love Eve, Thicc Eve, Quarterback Eve, and CEO Eve to truly capture the five different flavors of women. Evil man is arrested for fraud and framing Grace’s mother, Grace’s mother is released from prison, Marathon Toys survives under the new line of dolls, and Grace hooks up with some dude named Calum while Eve brings a chef named Hyde back to her doll world.

Any details that seem vague in that summary are basically as vague as the movie presented them. To start off, the jail plot. We learn early on in the movie through a horribly low-budget news segment that Grace’s mom is in jail, but they never actually specify why that is. Did she murder someone? Is she a drug smuggler? It’s up to your imagination. At the end it’s revealed that her mom was framed by a scheming board member, but until that board member bluntly states, “I framed her mother!” late in the movie, it’s never mentioned. Grace doesn’t ever act like she suspects her mother is innocent. Until sketchy businessman blatantly states that he set her up, there’s no reason for viewers to believe anything other than that the mom’s innocent until then. Then we get a scene of Grace and her mother from jail. They speak Spanish to each other at various points, and it doesn’t give subtitles. Don’t get tricked into thinking this was an artistic statement. I doubt the people behind Life-Size 2 really thought that much.

To break up the monotony of complaining, it’s time to give credit where credit is due: Tyra Banks was definitely Tyra Banks. It’s not like she’s a fantastic actor or anything, but she puts 1000% into everything she does. No one in this movie can really act, but Tyra delivers real energy in every scene she’s in. Sometimes I don’t even think they gave her a script. One scene boiled down to a fashion show with Eve, and Tyra looks like she’s having a lot of fun with it. Tyra’s talent didn’t make the bizarre rap number any better, but at least she put some effort into Life-Size 2, which is more than anyone else involved could say.

Oh yeah, here’s something terrifying the movie did. After coming to life, Eve develops a relationship with a human chef named Hyde. The chef comes on to Eve because Eve ordered a ton of food from his restaurant and ate a stick of butter. That’s not a joke; that’s the plot. Anyway, they get romantically involved, but at the end of the movie, when Marathon Toys is saved, Eve has to return to Sunnyvale. Chef Hyde makes the decision to leave his life behind and go with Eve, and we see as they magically get transformed into dolls. Then in one of the final scenes of the movie we see Chef Hyde and Eve in the world filled with Eve dolls as Hyde attempts and fails to make food out of the plastic in the Barbie World. This is some real Twilight Zone shit here. He’s a chef trapped in a world where he can’t cook. And imagine what his family and friends would be thinking! He disappears without warning, and the only clue is a doll that resembles him. Can he come back to the human world? I’m genuinely concerned about the fate of Chef Hyde. And don’t say that he found true love. Eve is mentally a young girl, and they knew each other for a few days before he decided to abandon his life for her. This whole plot line is terrifying, and the logistics of it are giving me a headache. Next complaint.

Thinking of that odd relationship, this movie is bizarrely sexual. Not that I’m a prude or anything, and this movie was definitely written for an older audience, but like… why? Why did they think that a movie about a doll coming to life and a girl inheriting a company and saving a toy company needed middle school quality innuendo? The scene that introduces Eve first finds her in bed with Grace and Grace not realizing who it is. Grace assumes Eve was a drunken hook-up while Eve naively replies with seemingly sexual responses. It’s less funny and more awkward cringey. Plus I just can’t get over how dumb it is that someone genuinely got paid to come up with the idea, “Let’s make a sequel to that family comedy from eighteen years ago, except now the characters bang.”

Oh, this anecdote is less about the movie itself and more about public response I found while searching around on Twitter. There have been several (low quality) think pieces praising Life-Size 2 for its LGTBQ inclusion. Because of the hook-up mix-up scene, it seems that Grace’s character was written as bisexual. It’s never really addressed again, and it’s used mostly for laughs in the one (1) scene it’s in, but it is in there. Also there’s a little boy who’s presented as gay. It is kinda cool that this isn’t a major plot point. Rather it’s merely a normal part of the movie. But at the same time, this movie is a lazy mess, and if it includes anything progressive, it’s done solely so that D-list Twitter verifieds will praise it. Hollywood is a cynical place. They don’t care about you. They care about money. And when a movie is as lazy as Life-Size 2, there’s no reason to believe that the single thing they cared about was inclusion for inclusion’s sake. The bottom line: don’t fall for Hollywood slacktivism. Strive for actual inclusion.

And now, Christmas. If you remember back to the start of our journey through this quality program, I first called this movie Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve and haven’t mentioned Christmas once since then. I hear a lot of people these days debating whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and I think that’s the lesser Christmas movie debate. I want to know if people think Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve is actually remotely a Christmas movie. The poster for the movie sure doesn’t make it look like one. Life-Size 2, final poster.jpg                      

Sure some of the scenes have Christmas trees in the backgrounds, and one scene definitely takes place in some sort of Christmas market thing, but other than that, there really is nothing about Christmas in this movie. About halfway through the movie I realized I forgot it was a Christmas movie and I came up with a conspiracy theory: Christmas was added in the last minute. At the end of the movie, when it’s announced that Grace’s mom will be released from prison, someone says “She’ll be out before Christmas,” and I think from that throwaway line made the writers realize, “Oh we can just throw some Christmas things in, release this in December, and boom: Christmas movie.” If I cared enough, I would rewatch the two definitely Christmas scenes to see if they have any differences in character hairstyles or other small details than the rest of the movie, but I’ve probably already spent enough time talking about a movie five people watched and three people cared about. Regardless, is it worthy of its Christmas subtitle? Not at all. Am I going to force everyone in my life to watch it with my every December? You bet!

Life-Size 2 unintentionally made me laugh harder than almost every intentional comedy I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend you watch it. Sure it’s already past Christmas season, but it’s barely a Christmas movie, so you’re fine. How many movies end with a Tyra Banks rap? That’s right. One (1). This one.

Also, I didn’t really know where to put this, but Lil Yachty shows up and beatboxes for like ten seconds. So that’s a thing.


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