A Film Review By Jason L. King
|Rating:Rated PG for mild language and innuendo.
Starring:Hillary Duff, Chad Michael Murray
Directed By:Mark Roseman
Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a magical princess in the state of California. Through a series of cliched adventures, and an adaptation of a classic fairy tale, she was able to discover her true self, and find the man of her dreams and live happily ever after. Does a story like this sound good? Well keep reading if you think this plot is a gauranteed winner.
Hillary Duff returns to the big screen in A Cinderella Story, a modern adaptation of the classic fairy tale. Now set in modern times, Sam (Duff) falls in love online with a boy, Austin Ames, who doesn’t even know who she is. But with the help of her co-workers, she heads off to the Halloween ball to find her prince charming. I have to be honest with you I hated this movie. I wish I could sugar coat it, but plain and simple I could not find anything about this movie that I truly enjoyed. Hillary Duff decided to take the classic Cinderella tale and try to adapt it to modern times, with a colorful cast of over the top characters and every possible high school cliché that is in the book. From start to finish it a teenage drama queen cliché that makes you want to gag from it’s own self-conscious cheese.
I know, I know I am not the target audience for this film. To be the target audience I would have to be a 10-16 year old girl who still believes that the popular boy really isn’t a jerk, and wants to be her magical prince charming. The problem I found was trying to ask myself, would I enjoy this film if I were a 10-year-old girl? After watching audience reaction (which was a lot of moms and their 10 year old daughters) and having never known the pleasure of being a 10 year old girl, I decided that I may think it was ok, if I was in the target audience. But there isn’t anything that makes this film stand out and be great.
Hillary Duff needs to realize that she isn’t an actress. Time and time again we see her play out the same role, Lizzie McGuire. A beautiful young girl who thinks she has life “oh so hard” but has an attitude and an air about her that you don’t really feel sorry for. She is the popular girl’s icon, the girl who has it all, but thinks she is down to earth and lovable. I for one am getting really sick of it, and I am assuming that with in a few years, if not already, everyone else is too. Duff is one of those kid actresses who are reaching the end of the line, but haven’t learned how to make the leap into other films. She needs to take a tip from her rival teen star Lindsay Lohan and try to save her career while she still can.
Her co-star is the Warner Brothers “whore,” Chad Michael Murray, whom apparently every girl in the world is attracted to. Starring in WB TV shows such as Gilmore Girls, Dawson’s Creek, and now having his own show, One Tree Hill he has made a name for himself as the WB’s heart throb. Murray also starred alongside Lindsay Lohan in the WB’s movie Freaky Friday, and now stars in Hilary Duff’s WB movie, a Cinderella Story. Murray is just a pretty face in this film, and is there to deliver cheesy lines, and be prince charming who really has a heart of gold. His other role is to be the stupidest boy on the face of the planet suffering from a bad case of Lois Lane disease. Just because Duff wore a mask over her eyes during a Halloween ball, he is too stupid to realize that she his dream girl in every day interactions. It’s unbearable how stupid he is, but that is really beside the point, you can blame that on terrible writing. Murray has the potential to be a decent actor some day, unless he finds himself type cast as a WB whore like James Vanderbeek (a.k.a. Dawson).
The whole point of this film was for Hillary Duff to flaunt that she still exists and wants to impress those girls who still think she deserves the spotlight. Her reign as Teen Princess is nearing it’s close and this is one of her last big chances to step up and show us she is as good of an actress as Lohan (which she isn’t) and to showcase more of her wonderful singing career. Anyone who is familiar with her music would be waiting for he lovely song, “Come Clean” as the rain is pouring down in the last scene of her movie. (It should be noted, if you are familiar with/ know the words to this song, you have worked at a theater way too long or you own her cd (Metamorphosis (what teen girl can spell that let alone name their cd that?) and in that case should be drug out into the street and shot.) Anyway the point of that rant, is even that’s not there. Instead she tries to showcase her musical career with her sister, Haley Duff. (Yes folks, there is a Haley Duff, aren’t we all lucky.)
In the end folks, save your buck on this film. If you are a parent you will gag, if you are a teenager this film is way too cheesy for words, and if you are a ten-year-old even you will be able to see flaws in this re-hashed mediocrity. A Bad adaptation of a great story kills this film. The fairy tale, dream come true teen story has been done time and time again in such better ways, go rent a few of them and save A Cinderella Story for a rainy day rental for your little princess.