A Film Review By Jason L. King and The Mike
Rating:Rated PG for mild language.
Starring: Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston
Directed By:Dennie Gordon
I live in America. I am a dweeb. I trip over my own feet quite a bit. I dress like an idiot, and I say the worlds dumbest things at times. Every year I wish that maybe my life will have a storybook ending. But to be honest, real life isn’t like the movies. The good guy doesn’t always win, the ugly girl is not secretly beautiful and not every clutzy outcast “secretly” hot girl doesn’t have long lost relatives that are heirs to the throne of Brittan. The ugly girl doesn’t magically become a beauty to the entire world, she doesn’t pick the nice guy, and the whole world does not change because of her existence. But Hollywood likes to plant ideas such as this in little girls heads, and so the meaningless storybook films continue to be made….
What A Girl Wants came out last weekend, and to quickly sum it up it is the story of a young girl who goes to visit her long lost father, a Baron in England. But her visit proves to be one that affects his life in various ways, and both of them learn a lot from each other, and through a chain of humorous events everyone lives happily ever after…. I’m not sure, but I think I have seen this before. I’m pretty sure it was called, “The Princess Diaries.” Oh wait, now I remember why, it’s made by the exact same people. But just because it is made by them, that still can make it a bad rip off at least to an extent. In fact The Mike and I referred to it as “The Dashwood Diaries” (Dashwood was the last name of the long lost father) It’s sad, since the film is directed by the guy who directed “Joe Dirt” What a wonderful film that was! (Ok it was pointless- it was bad…but a guilty pleasure of mine, there is something about David Spade, Walken and Kid Rock in a movie that still makes me laugh).
Amanda Bynes did an over all great job with this cheesy teen fluff flick, and she has the potential to be a decent actor in the future. (Since her other movie was “Big Fat Liar” with Frankie Muiniz, even this was a positive step I suppose) And for all the weird guys out there that are saying “gee she is kinda cute” keep in mind that this 17 year old girl may prove to be that in THE FUTURE, but you aren’t allowed to say stuff like that you dirty old men! As for her Co-star Colin Firth, who plays her long lost father, does an overall great job, but he is decent at pretty much any pointless “British Guy” roles. Overall though the cheesy teen plot kept them from actually doing any “great acting,” because all they really had to do was go through the motions.
I’m not suggesting this film at all. But I would also like to stress I am not telling you Not to see this film either. Simply put, this film is not my cup of tea (I am American, not British So I like Coffee!). All in all for the audience it was aimed at, it’s not bad. But know going in that it’s far from perfection, in fact, it’s far from “good” in some points (in fact it has the worst transitions in the world- its this cheesy gold letter thing that describes each “social event” she attends. The only transitions that I can think of that are worse are the ones in Undisputed). If you are up for happy, go lucky, fairy tale ending, pointless popcorn fluff, and nothing more. Or if you just like those teen movies where the girl learns to be herself, jump in line. But just the movie is basically like the Whipped cream topped cake. It’s fluffy, kind of tasty in small doses, but eventually it gets to be too much, especially when you don’t eat the cake with it. The problem with What A Girl Wants, is that they only gave you whipped cream, and forgot the cake that goes with it….
The Mikes Review:
In What a Girl Wants, director Dennie Gordon tunnels like a ferret into the soul of the teenage-girl comedy, with poor results. A director whose only previous work was the underrated feel-good comedy Joe Dirt, she makes a film here that is too overly wishy and not overly dramatic or funny.
Starring in the film is seventeen-year old Amanda Bynes, whom many feel has a bright future ahead of her. The film gives her every opportunity to tromp around and have fun, but gives nothing that resembles a stretch for the actress. Playing a typical teenage girl who gets things handed to her and works through problems that aren’t as big as they seem is no challenge for an actress who’s made more money by 17 than most adults ever will. Is she right for the role? Yes. But is it a role worth playing? No.
The supporting cast she’s handed is also a wasted bunch, with Colin Firth as her long lost father and Kelly Preston as her wallflower mother. Jonathan Pryce, who I will always remember fondly from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and from his small role in Glengarry Glen Ross, shows up as the token British snob/bad guy, but he too is wasted on the film.
What a Girl Wants is everything a teen girl could want in a movie. The problem with that is, so was The Princess Diaries. The similarities between the two films are obvious, and acknowledging this as a rip-off is an assessment that could easily be backed-up. Like that film, What a Girl Wants lacks any substantial meaning, existing only as a revamped fairy tale that we’ve been told a thousand times. The names change, but the story stays the same.
I have to admit that it’s a good fairy tale, and the appealing cast keeps it afloat at points through pure effort. It’s safe to say that the director and cast can’t take the full blame for this film, the script should have never gotten a green light in the first place. They do what they can, and there are some funny bits. It was a good try by the cast and crew, except for the sprawling gold text for each event that got annoying real fast.
In the end, the mountain of clichés in the script was too much for the under-talented cast and crew to handle. There could be good things ahead for Bynes and Gordon, but this isn’t going to advance their status. What a Girl Wants is simply a good attempt at a bad idea.