Retro Review: Princess Diaries

“My Fair Lady” sprinkled with a little “teen angst” is the best way to describe Disney’s latest “G” rated comedy, “The Princess Diaries”.

Julie Andrews returns to the silver screen as Queen Clarisse Renaldi of Genovia.

The queen must transform her teen granddaughter into a princess before the “Independence Day Ball”.

Anne Hathaway stars as Mia, the queen’s clumsy and very reluctant granddaughter who is very absorbed in her daily teen life.

Mia freaks out when she is confronted by the idea that she might even be the princess of Genovia.

It turns out that the queen has another hidden motive to why her granddaughter must claim her right to the throne. What will ecstatic Mia’s decision be?

This film is purely for girls who dream of being a princess and that’s about all. It’s really not that cleverly written as it seems to focus more on its target audience than allowing other age groups into the film.

Andrews is timeless as the queen and it is almost sad to see a great actress as her in such a poorly written film. I don’t blame the director or the stars but instead focus on what a delight this film could have been given a different writer.

“Pretty Woman” director Gary Marshall reworks his magic again for this film as there are scenes that echo “Runaway Bride” and “Pretty Woman” as he helps one more reluctant girl find her true calling. Marshall tries really hard to stick with the film’s “G” rating.

The problem is when the film starts to see the “paparazzi” swarm around the angst-ridden princess, you have a collision of worlds.

There are mature themes that push the envelope on the “G” rating as a vicious evil cheerleader (played by pop princess Mandy Moore) leads the press to gather scoops on the princess. The rating handicap does hurt the film on many levels.

Some of this content is to harsh and the writers should have found a different way to present this teen-princess story. I wonder if the film would have been better if it was staged in Genovia instead of Tribeca.

Like all Gary Marshall films, you have Hector Elizondo who plays the soul of the film. This time he plays the Queen’s driver. Elizondo really needs to hit up his friend Marshall for a meatier role on the next go around.

Poor Elizondo looks overly bored unless he is in the scene with Andrews. I really did like his role of confidence to Andrews’ queen.

Anne Hathaway, last scene on the critically acclaimed and quietly canceled “Get Real”, does her very best in her first feature film.

Her smile reminds me a lot of Julia Roberts who had a film similar to this as her breakout role. Could Hathaway’s ten-kilowatt smile be apart of her success much like it has been for Julia? Maybe but I do hope to seeĀ great things from her. I really loved her in “Get Real”.

Remember parents, this film will make your pubescent daughters squeal with delight but will probably bore you to death.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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