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Very little shines in unnecessary ‘Life-Size’ sequel

November 30, 2018

In 2000, ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney” premiered “Life-Size,” a sweet, entertaining movie starring Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan. Lohan played a young girl who accidentally brings her doll to life while trying to resurrect her mom. Banks played Eve, the Barbie-like doll come to life who encouraged girls to “shine bright, shine far, be a star.”

18 years later, Eve neither shines bright nor far in Freeform’s “Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve,” a dreadful and completely unnecessary sequel that unwisely tries to give a contemporary, young adult spin to the family-friendly original.

In “Life-Size 2,” Francia Raisa is Grace Manning, a 20-something Atlanta socialite who becomes the CEO of Marathon Toys after her mother, the company’s founder, goes to jail. Marathon, best known for manufacturing the Eve doll, is in trouble, thanks in part to Grace’s partying ways. When Marathon’s board votes to discontinue Eve, Grace’s young next-door neighbor, Lex (Alison Fernandez), convinces Grace to use magic to bring Grace’s old Eve doll (Banks) to life to help her save the company.

Once Eve appears, she sets out to convince Grace that the doll is worth saving, while trying to help the young toy mogul experience a little of the childhood she never had. And Eve experiences some things for the first time herself, including falling in love.

According to TV Guide, Banks, a producer on the movie, has spent the past five years “refining the script in order to satisfy longtime fans.” I think she needed another five years, as the new movie fails miserably to capture any of the magic of the original. And because of its switch to young adult-friendly Freeform, “Life-Size 2″ tries to add contemporary touches that just don’t fit with the sweet story of a doll come to life. The innuendo is especially cringe worthy.

Viewers who make it through the first half of the movie — which I barely did — will be rewarded with a nice romantic storyline, but that’s the sequel’s only redeeming quality. Even the classic Eve jingle gets a terrible update. And the ending, which should be inspirational, completely falls flat. The original’s climax was a total tearjerker. Your tissue box will be totally safe with this one.

In case you’re curious, there is a small tribute to Lohan in the sequel, but no appearance. I’m guessing she knew — unlike the folks at Disney — that the best way to shine bright and far is to leave well enough alone.

“Life-Size 2: A Christmas Eve” premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, on Freeform. The original will air at 2:35 p.m. the same day.

Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at ahenderson-bentley@hotmail.

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