Material Girls

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Material Girls
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartha Coolidge
Written by
Produced by
  • Milton Kim
  • Tim Wesley
  • Mark Morgan
  • Guy Oseary
  • Hilary Duff
  • Susan Duff
  • Eve LaDue
  • David Faigenblum
CinematographyJohnny E. Jensen
Edited bySteven Cohen
Music byJennie Muskett
  • Maverick Films
  • Rafter H Entertainment
  • Patriot Pictures
  • Milton Kim Productions
  • Concept Entertainment
Distributed byMGM Distribution Co.
Release date
  • August 18, 2006 (2006-08-18) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$16.9 million[1]

Material Girls is a 2006 American teen comedy film directed by Martha Coolidge, loosely based on Jane Austen's 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility, updating the setting to modern Los Angeles. The film stars Hilary and Haylie Duff, Anjelica Huston, Lukas Haas, Maria Conchita Alonzo, and Brent Spiner. It is co-produced by Patriot Pictures and Maverick Films.


Sisters Tanzania "Tanzie" and Ava are wealthy, Hollywood socialites who enjoy shopping and dating, paying little attention to their late father's (Victor Marchetta) company, Marchetta Cosmetics, run by co-founder and family friend Tommy Katzenbach. Tanzie is going to college soon and Ava is planning to announce her engagement with fiancée Mic.

A major media scandal breaks, involving disfigurement from Marchetta night cream. The girls and their father's reputation is destroyed, and Ava and Tanzie retreat to their mansion. While preparing a home spa treatment, Tanzie accidentally spills nail polish remover. Ava's light cigarette then is dropped during an argument, and it starts a fire.

Ava saves their father's watch and her engagement party dress while Tanzie saves their TiVo box with recordings of her father talking about his cosmetics. Going to a hotel, they learn all their credit cards have been blocked, leaving them completely broke. They move in with their maid and close family friend Inez in her small apartment. They foolishly give their car keys to two men they naively think are valets.

The next morning, Ava and Tanzie, without the car, take a bus and then walk the rest of the way to Ava's engagement party. They are refused entry, their friend Etienne ignores them, they realize they were only liked for their money. Ava's fiancé Mic's agent Sol dumps her as she is now a "liability".

Tommy plans to persuade the board of directors to sell Marchetta Cosmetics to arch-rival Fabiella for $60 million (or $30 million each). The girls have 30 days until the stockholders meeting, when the deal will be made official.

The deal would mean they could return to their extravagant lifestyles, but they are depressed over their father's legacy being destroyed. After Tanzie's love interest and the company's lab technician Rick helps them evade the press outside, Ava and Tanzie decide to become "private investigators" and approach free legal clinic lawyer Henry for help. He agrees, after initially refusing as they are not "underprivileged". Determined to restore their father's reputation, the sisters are determined to uncover the truth.

Watching the news, Tanzie recognises a woman who accused Marchetta of leaving her disfigured as also in an eczema documentary on KLAE. Tanzie goes to the KLAE offices dressed provocatively and flirts with the receptionist, who allows her access to the file room. She manages to obtain the woman's address, before being arrested and put in jail for fraud and trespassing. Ava pawns her dad's Rolex (her most treasured possession) to pay Tanzie's bail money after Henry helps her realize that family is more important than material things.

The woman, Margo Thorness, says that Marchetta paid for her cosmetic surgery for the supposed damage caused by Marchetta Everdew night cream. But Ava and Tanzie learn from her neighbor that she lied, as she was born with a skin disease. The girls meet with the board of directors and successfully clear the Marchetta name, revealing that Tommy (their father's best friend and trustee of the company) was behind the scandal, as he had helped fabricate testimonials, and used money taken from the sisters' personal bank accounts. Tommy is promptly fired by Ava.

Six months later, the girls are running the company, with Ava as the new CEO and Tanzie studying while working as a chemist. Ava is now in a relationship with Henry, and Tanzie is now with Rick.



The film began production on April 18, 2005, in Los Angeles, California. For the film's soundtrack, Hilary Duff recorded two new songs: "Happy" (which was then an early version of "Play with Fire", her single released in August 2006) and a cover version of the Madonna song "Material Girl", performed with Haylie Duff, which was the inspiration for the film's story and is featured at the beginning of the film.



On March 31, 2006, the entertainment site reported that Lukas Haas had said he did not expect the film to be released. These statements were confirmed on April 5, in an article in The Ryersonian. Haas expressed his unhappiness with the film, and said they had been trying to sell the film for a long time with little success.[2] On April 6, the website Box Office Mojo reported that MGM had picked up the rights to Material Girls and would be releasing it on August 25 (this was later changed to August 18). On May 2, the official website for Martha Coolidge reported that it would be released on around 2,000 screens.[3]

Material Girls was released in 1,500 theaters in the U.S. and debuted at #9 on the weekend box office chart, grossing only US$4.62 million in its first three days of release.[4] The DVD for Material Girls was released on December 12, 2006 in the U.S by 20th Century Fox under the MGM Home Entertainment label. It is a double-sided DVD with special features including the music video for Hilary Duff's single "Play with Fire". In the UK the film was released on March 2, 2007 to coincide with the release of Duff's single "With Love", her album Dignity, and the UK release of her scent With Love... Hilary Duff. It was distributed by Twentieth Century Fox. The film has garnered a total of $16,847,695 worldwide.[5]

Critical response[edit]

The film received extremely negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes ranked Material Girls 46th in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s, with a rating of 4% based on reviews from 54 critics and an average rating of 3.00/10. The consensus reads, "Plagued by paper-thin characterizations and a hackneyed script, Material Girls fails to live up to even the minimum standards of its genre."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 17 out of 100 based on reviews from 12 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B-" on scale of A+ to F.[8] Hilary and Haylie Duff's performances were panned by critics and earned both of them Razzie Award nominations for Worst Actress and Worst Screen Couple.[9]

Amelie Gillette of The A.V. Club wrote in her review: "Their portrayal isn't some light send-up of materialism. It's a light endorsement of it."[10]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote in her review: "The real-life sisters Hilary and Haylie Duff star in this incompetent spin on the poor-little-rich-girl story. Not yet legal and apparently never educated, the sisters live with a fleet of happy helpers, [...] aren’t just spoiled rotten; they’re nitwits."[11]


  1. ^ "Material Girls (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  2. ^ [1] Archived November 4, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Archived 2006-05-17 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Box Office Estimates Report for August 18-20, 2006". Box Office Prophets. 2006-08-20. Archived from the original on 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  5. ^ Box Office Mojo. "Material Girls". Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  6. ^ "Material Girls Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "Material Girls (2006): Reviews". 2010-07-17. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  9. ^ Christy Lemire. "Material Girls: Critics' Reviews". MSN. United States: Microsoft. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  10. ^ Gillette, Amelie (August 23, 2006). "Material Girls". The A.V. Club. Chicago: G/O Media. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  11. ^ Dargis, Manohla (August 19, 2006). "In 'Material Girls,' Those Daffy Duff Sisters Play Rich, Daffy ... Sisters". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved November 5, 2019.

External links[edit]