This film plays like a bad, less entertaining, made-for-television Disney movie. It has zero suspense, the humor is flat, and the only redeeming quality is that it isn’t 90 minutes long. Thank goodness for small miracles.
The poorly written description on the back of the DVD box warns viewers that they will follow along on a girl’s “spirited journey” as she confronts “unique challenges through the entries of her diary.” Of course, this movie is writt en by a man, Bill Rhoten, so one must wonder what kind of insight he has into the mind of a young girl, but that’s neither here nor there, as the story of Jessie (Lisa Gililland) and her move to a new town will surely bore most viewers to tears before they ever start to question such things. Throw in some nonsense about a neighbor who has been in a concentration camp and the search for a missing boy, and you have a recipe for … well, nothing.
“Jessie’s Diary” goes absolutely nowhere. The plot threads are all tied up in a neat little package by the film’s end, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that you never feel like these characters evolved or even did anything. You can see every “twist” coming (with the exception of one dealing with a rabbit cage, which I’m sure was a moment the writer must have been very proud of), and there are no moments where you, as a viewer, will think this is an appropriate way to spend nearly an hour of your time.
As a film for children, which I hope is the intended audience, this works mildly well if only to keep a child’s attention while the parents prepare dinner. It won’t present anything too disturbing, and nor will it challenge anyone. As an adult, however, there is no reason to waste your time with this because if it’s written for you then it shows the writer has no respect for his audience. There’s no need to patronize anything that does that, and this film is definitely no exception.