The guys at CHUD are sadists.  I came to this conclusion when I received this screener in the mail as part of my first package of DVDs to review.  I’m the new guy on the site.  I gotta pay my dues.  I get that.  But I prepared mentally and thought I was ready for anything.  Reviewing DVDs for CHUD – for me personally – is a great honor.  I have hopes that being a small part of it can lead to good things in the future; at the very least my own circle of dedicated Chewers who would gladly rip me a new one at a moment’s notice.  That’s something to aspire to, I think. 

So I was prepared to get up over my head in shit and eat my way out in terms of reviewing really bad DVDs.  I told Nick the shittier the better.  I was at the table with knife and fork ready to scarf down the worst he could send at me.  Whatcha got?  Children of the Corn 12: The Redenbacher Massacre?  Bring it on.  Knock Off 2?  Piece o’ cake.  All-time Gay Porn Greats 5? (okay, I would have had to pass on that one).  But basically, I’m ready for anything.

CHUD sends me Hilary Duff: That Girl Can Rock.  Uh…shit, didn’t see that one coming…uh…wow. 

1.    The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.
2.    The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty.
3.    Extreme cruelty

So after I pick up my balls from the floor, I sit down and look at this thing.  I’m a novice film reviewer.  I’m not a music critic.  I’m a thirtysomething guy of various ethnic backgrounds.  Not a 14-year-old white chick.  Like many of you, I‘m a sci-fi, horror, violence, action and video game junkie.  Love it.  Can’t get enough of it.  This is a concert DVD.  My musical tastes are in the R&B/Hip Hop flavor (flava for those of you who are down).  Give me some Mary J.  Some Stylistics, Isley Brothers, Alicia Keys…Usher is kicking much ass right now…I’m really diggin’ Juvenile’s song “Slow Motion” at the moment (if you saw my Godsend review you may have picked up on that)….

Hilary Duff: That Girl Can Rock.  Sadists I tell you…

The Flick:

Okay.  Let me clarify something.  Hilary Duff: That Girl Can Rock is not the steaming pile that you find on the carpet if you don’t give Fido his walk soon enough.  It’s a pretty solidly made DVD of concert footage, behind-the-scenes, music videos, and everything Hilary Duff.  For her fans, there’s nearly fifty minutes of concert footage taken from two venues and seamlessly edited together to make the movie.  The production of the DVD is actually pretty good.  The transfer is crisp, there’s a choice of Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 5.1 Surround.  If you have a plasma TV with a  booming sound system, you’re gonna get the feeling of being front row. 

That being said, the question must be asked, “Who is this DVD made for?”  Pure and simple, Hilary Duff fans.  Who are those?  Suburban teeny boppers…and pervs.  To a limited degree, and at least no more than any other guy reading this, I know what it’s like to be the latter.  When I was 13, the hottest chick on the planet was She-Ra (I know I’m not the only one…come on).  So what do I know about 16-year-old girls (Duff’s age)?  Two things:

1.  That when I was 16, no 16-year-old girl would give me the time of day.
2.  I know well enough to stay the hell away from them.

I don’t know if there’s a countdown website for Hilary Duff’s 18th birthday (Sept. 28, 2005…you sickos) like there was for the Olsen Twins.  But I think it’s safe to say that Duff will turn out better than Mary-Can’t-Eat and Ashley.  She’s a striking young girl and it’s easy to see why she’s the post-Britney Britney.  She seems pretty well-rounded and comes off pretty okay in the DVD (if you’re in a training bra…sigh).  Aside from the concert, you get the Duff must-haves of seeing her doing some shopping before her first concert, shopping after a concert, going to a day spa, going through rehearsals, hanging out with her crew…her girlfriends……… dancers………….. musicians…………….. family…………………………………………..(Sorry, my eyes glazed over just writing this………………Did I mention sadists?)  Anyway, you get the idea.  You’re female and born sometime around the first Bush administration, you’ll be thoroughly entertained.  Otherwise….

As an aside, there were a couple of things I noticed on the disc:

1.    Hilary spent some time with her older sister, Haylie, who wrote a couple of the songs on her album.  Haylie’s an actress in her own right and is also part of a group called Inventing Venus, which I’ve never heard of.  I don’t know if even the teeny boppers have heard of it.  Anyway, they seem to be very close…but I couldn’t help thinking that as Haylie was sitting silently by her younger, more famous and prettier sister go on and on about how totally rockin’ her life is, one word was passing through her mind over and over again: BITCH.  Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know.

2.    Some creepy guy in Duff’s entourage going on and on about Duff’s work ethic, passion for music, maturity…blah, blah, blah.  You’ll get the same impression I got: Eurofag. (Disclaimer:  The term “Eurofag” should not be construed to be in reference to any homesexual living or dead nor any intolerance of same.  Mr. Oliver and are equal opportunity defamers and will bag on anyone for a laugh.)

As far as the concert itself, it was tolerable.  It sure as hell was no Rattle and Hum, it wasn’t even Spice World, but tolerable.  Although I think the presence of Keith Richards sucking down a couple packs of Marlboros onstage could’ve helped.  But MAJOR kudos to the director for keeping the songs rolling so you’re in and out.  You get all her major hits, “So Yesterday,” “Come Clean” and “Metamorphosis.”  If I had to pick one, I’d sit through “So Yesterday” again.  Thank our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that I don’t have to pick one.  And lest I not forget the pervs out there, the most stroke-worthy song?  “Metamorphosis.”  She does a little bit of slinking around on the floor.  And be sure not to miss the “Hilary Hangs Ten” extra.  Hilary in a bikini learning to surf.  Get your lotion and Hilary Duff pull-out mini-poster and knock yourself out.  

Teeny bopper Hilary Duff fans: 11 out of 10 (‘Cause it like so totally rocks).

Pervs: 4.5 out of 10 (Britney’s DVD was hotter)

CHUD Demographic: What, are you kidding?

The Look:

Say what you will, this is a nice looking DVD.  Crisp concert footage that’s well edited.  And at least it’s widescreen.  Documentaries are done on tape, but look okay.  You’ll enjoy it for years.  Bonus: psychedelic menu screens.  Drop some acid and really go crazy.

8.5 out of 10

The Noise:

Booming Dolby 5.1 Surround and also regular 5.1.  Teen angst songs that cause sugar comas never sounded so good.
8.8 out of 10

The Goodies:

Nicely loaded.  The disc gives you the option of watching the concert in its entirety, jumping to a song, or watching the concert and all of the extras in one sitting (Yay?).  Three mini-docs on making the album, the tour and the “Come Clean” music video.  Two music videos: “Come Clean” and “So Yesterday: Live.”  There’s also a mini-feature, “Hilary Hangs Ten,” which shows her learning to surf, a photo gallery and sneak peeks of the A Cinderella Story soundtrack and Lizzie McGuire on DVD.  One drawback though, no commentary (Let’s just hope they put out a director’s cut.)

8.2 out of 10

The Artwork: Airbrushed “side-of-milk-carton” photo.  1.6 out of 10.

Overall:  5.2 out of 10