The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement


Reviewed by: David Stanners

It's been five years since Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway) became one of the country's most eligible high school graduates. Flying to Genovia - an Italian/Franco principality - she is about to relieve her grandmother, Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), of her duty. But when she gets there, Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) - Disney's version of the Machiavellian courtier - is busy scheming and cajoling, in an attempt to secure his nephew, Lord Devereaux (Chris Pine), as king.

Pushing his own envelope, Mabrey makes a drama of an ancient Genovian law, stating that an unmarried woman cannot be crowned queen. So, as well as juggling her regal duties, the parliament forces Mia to find a suitable husband within 30 days before she can become queen. Like all teenage girls, hormones are the real issue and the legal queen/husband thing becomes a bit of a pain in the butt. For convenience sake, she finds a stereotypically polite Southern English gent, but soon realises there's no spark, and, despite Mabrey's bullish canvassing, begins to fall for the cutting charm of Devereaux .

This will suit girls under 13 down to the ground. The comedy element could be stretched a little, but that was never Disney's trademark. There's enough of the tiara thing going on for the young wannabe ballerina types out there and, for the slightly older, the handsome prince still brings fairytale hopes for all. There is a certain crassness about all this, particularly the one-dimensional way Europe is portrayed as a land of castles and kitsch; Englishmen are polite but dull, and as usual Mr All America walks away with top prize.

Still, Andrews is good, doing her graceful best, and both Hector Elizondo, as the eternally faithful butler, and Rhys-Davies, as the devious courtier, add a little flavour to what would otherwise have been a bland offering.

Tomboys need not bother.

Reviewed on: 23 Oct 2004
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Teen princess hunts for her prince.
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David Haviland *1/2

Director: Garry Marshall

Writer: Shonda Rhimes

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, Hector Elizondo, John Rhys-Davies, Chris Pine, Callum Blue, Heather Matarazzo, Kathleen Marshall, Larry Miller.

Year: 2004

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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