Allumination Filmworks // 2007 // 85 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 14th, 2008
Dreams are at the finish line.
What do you get when you cross a plucky waitress that wants to race Formula One cars and an American Idol also-ran? A movie about a waitress that wants to race Formula One cars starring an American Idol also-ran!
For small-town girl Alex Johnstone (Mircea Monroe), there's only been one thing she's ever wanted to do: race cars professionally. She comes from a racing family, but ever since her father was killed during a race, everyone associated with the checkered flag has been reluctant to giver a shot at her dream. They're too protective of Alex and she's resistant to their oversensitivity. And when she's not dealing with them, she has to contend with being a woman trying to break into a man-dominated sport and the prejudice and stereotypes that are associated with that.
Alex sees her chance for stardom when a special time trials exhibition comes to town. Despite all the forces pushing against her Alex will try to race, and with the help of her newfound race-car driving boy toy Darryl (Justin Guarini), she might just realize her dreams.
Predictable, corny and clichéd, Fast Girl is an inoffensive movie that brings very little new to the family-movie stable. Still, if you're on the prowl for a harmless, heartfelt girl-power movie you could do a lot worse. It's very much like The Next Karate Kid, a seemingly arbitrary comparison, sure, but wait until you read my handy little word-count-padding list!
* The Slight Resemblance Between the Two Stars
Sure Hillary Swank and Mircea Monroe aren't complete doppelgangers, but they physically look similar. More importantly, they're both smart-assed spitfires with short tempers and something to prove. They've also got loads of emotional baggage that they need to channel into a dangerous activities, karate and high-speed racecar driving.
* The Sensei
To help channel this negative energy, Alex needs to lean on the advice of her Uncle Bill, a reluctant teacher, just like Mr. Miyagi. He's got some hard and fast rules and if Alex wants to fulfill her potential as a premium driver, she needs to set aside her pride and anger issues and listen to him.
* The Jerks
Both girls, as strong and intimidating as they are, are forced with not just psychological adversity but adversity in the form of actual idiots. There was the group of high school boys in The Next Karate Kid that found it emotionally satisfying to beat up a girl and in Fast Girl there's Ace, a brash, cocky racer who never fails to remind Alex that she's a girl and has no business driving a car. Oh, he'll get his, when he dies painfully in a flaming car wreck. Nah, just kidding.
* The Presence of Justin Guarini
Fast Girl has Justin Guarini and The Next Karate Kid doesn't. Well, I guess that's where this lame comparison ends.
I'll recommend Fast Girl if you're in the mood for an easy-to-map, marginally fun family film. Just ready for yourself for no surprises from the starting line to the checkered flag. Our hero will have to overcome a personality flaw (pride), find romance after some emotional turbulence (pushing away her boyfriend because of abandonment issues), get past a major barrier to success (conquering the turn that claimed her father's life), succumbing to the folksy wisdom of her boss at the café (played about as folksy as you can get by Caroline Rhea) and, ultimately, showing the sexist, chauvinistic pigs that she is a girl and she can f -- -- -- drive!
A no-nonsense DVD release, featuring a clean, attractive 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and 2.0 stereo audio. Trailers and a 10-minute featurette focusing on the technical driving elements of the film are the extras.
Fast Girl isn't groundbreaking in the least, but if you're geared up for a simple, predictable charming family fable, buckle up and go.
Downshift your expectations and you're golden. Court adjourned.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Allumination Filmworks
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated