Eye For Film >> Movies >> Another Cinderella Story (2008) Film Review
It comes as something of a pleasant surprise to note that this straight-to-DVD sequel to Hilary Duff's A Cinderella Story is a far superior film. Then again, it would have required more than the work of a wicked step-mother to turn out something that was worse than that particular pumpkin.
The only real similarity it shares with its predecessor is that it takes the Cinderella fairytale as its jumping off point. Here, with the focus firmly on following your dream - through music and dance, of course - it has more in common with the likes of High School Musical. In fact, Drew Seeley, taking on the Prince Charming mantle here, provided the singing voice for Zac Efron's Troy in the first High School Musical, while our latter day Cinderella, called Mary this time around, is played by Selena Gomez, who also has a string of Disney credentials.
The wicked step-mum has become a vague foster guardian - washed up diva Dominique Blatt (Jane Lynch), who takes in Mary after her dancer mum dies. To be fair, Mary's lot doesn't seem to be all that bad. Although she is treated like something of a live-in maid by Dominique and her two daughters Britt (Emily Perkins) and Bree (Katharine Isabelle), she has a pretty cool room, a pretty cool and suitably kooky friend, Tami (Jessica Parker Kennedy) and quite a lot of time to lead her own life - at least at school.
When her path crosses that of Joey (Seeley), a successful teen star who has returned to high school in a bid to "keep it real", a neat twist on the Cinderella tale sees them fall for one another - but can Mary's dreams of romance and dance success survive? There are no prizes for guessing the answer to that, of course, but this is a cheerfully upbeat piece of teenage stardust that should keep most young romantics satisfied. There's plenty of falling into the arms of your handsome prince - in chaste, one foot on the bedroom floor type scenes - offset with some sexy steam-filled tango and hip-hop, which are suggestive without being over the top. In fact, the song and dance numbers are so well-handled and catchy, it's a shame there aren't more of them.
Although this is the first-dimension, where charcters are so wafer thin they barely cast a shadow, Gomez and Seeley have plenty of sparkle and Lynch, Perkins and Isabelle provide a decent level of pantomime humour. The comedy pieces work well, on the whole, although there is a dreadful segment of borderline racist business with a firm of Chinese cleaners that would have looked better on the cutting room floor. Refreshingly, this is also all about talent, not looks; although, of course, all the kids are beautiful, there is a lot less materialism on display than in many similar movies. Another Cinderella Story won't be winning any awards, but it is a competent instalment in the "tweenage" bubblegum cannon that can hold its own alongside the likes of Material Girls, Bratz: The Movie and Step Up.Reviewed on: 26 Oct 2008