Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Cinderella Story (2004) Film Review
A Cinderella Story
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
It must have seemed like such a good idea in the script meeting.
"Hey, that Cinderella chills with the underbabes, right? So why don't we update her with tweenypop eye candy and set it in the States?"
Charles Perrault must be spinning in his grave.
The whole thing is morally wrong or, rather, it really is wrong to have this many "morals" in a film. Scriptwriter Leigh Dunlap seems to have had a bet with someone as to how many cliched sayings it was possible to fit in a teen drama and, whoever bet against her must be seriously out of pocket. It's her first screenplay. Let us hope fervently it will be her last.
Sam (Hilary Duff) is the Cinderella in question. When we meet her she is happy with her widower father, even when he marries a caricature of a stepmother Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge) who comes with twin daughters Brianna (Madeline Zima) and Gabriella (Andrea Avery), who are more stupid than ugly. When Daddy meets his maker ahead of schedule and without leaving a will, Sam is scuppered, forced to work for Fiona in her dad's diner, with only the other staff for mentors and a secret text admirer (Chad Michael Murray) who, in true Cinderella fashion she arranges to meet at the homecoming ball.
Every US high school drama cliche is rolled out, from fancy dress balls and football teams to bitchy rich kids and a sweet - but ever so slightly geeky - best mate. The script is stilted beyond belief. At one point Sam emails: "My dad told me to pursue my dreams." When did you last hear a teenager say they were "pursuing" anything? Especially via email. "Will u meet me 4 a d8." seems much more likely.
The film doesn't work on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start. None of the characters have any substance, not even Duff, or Murray, and the plot drags on for so long and has so many pointless subplots, it's impossible to care.
Ultimately, this is a pumpkin of a picture with no magic to transform it.Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2004
If you like this, try:The Princess Diaries