Ice Princess
Dir. Fywell
Opens Fri March 18
Various Theaters

In spite of what my history as the occasional Mercury film critic might suggest, I am not, in fact, a pedophile. Sure, I've reviewed nearly every live-action Disney film since accepting my position here at the paper--a joyful acceptance that, by peculiar twist of fate, coincided with a Disney business model that emphasizes its vast harem of contractually obligated teenage starlets in factory-style, modern, Cinderella-inspired fare. As the Mercury's resident sissy, I contentedly accept this responsibility--not out of a leering obsession with the young and the buoyant, mind you, but in a semi-sincere appreciation of the strange, uncomfortable contradictions that come along with teenage Disney diva-dom.

As the latest among the starlet ranks, Ice Princess' Michelle Trachtenberg arrives at Disney diva-dom with considerably more baggage than most: an early career in the upper-echelon of the Nickelodeon ghetto (The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Harriet the Spy), a post-pubescent stint on Buffy, an unfortunate role in the less-than-memorable EuroTrip. In spite of her somewhat lengthy resume, Trachtenberg carries the responsibility of the Disney diva admirably: she's pretty (but not threatening), she's smart (but not particularly clever), she can fill out one of those ugly figure skating suits (and still front like she's all wholesome), but most importantly, she can't act for shit.

Falling for Ice Princess' milquetoast male lead (Trevor Blumas) with marvelous indifference, she quietly rebels against the oppressively feminist confines of her mother (an aging Joan Cusack, whose second-wave feminist leanings can be boiled down to a jealousy of pretty women), and metamorphoses from an improbably twitchy Harvard-bound physicist to a superficial, make-up-slathered figure skater--all without being so much as faintly memorable.

At this rate, Trachtenberg could well be on her way to the Disney diva hall of fame--which is to say, total and abject career suicide. Either way, it appears that I've got another starlet to add to the ever-rotating cast of sexless Disney daughters with whom I've become so familiar--but at least it'll give me a break from the Duff sisters.