Before you dismiss me as a Disney flick hater, let me first admit that I loved the modern remake of The Parent Trap. Sure, it had its clunky moments, but mostly it was a sweet, fun film. So I came into The Princess Diaries experiencing the same kind of light, enjoyable movie experience. Unfortunately, both my wife and I were disappointed. The chemistry is just all wrong on this one.
The script fizzles. The heroine is never believable as an unpopular klutz. The supporting characters, like the main ones, are walking clichés. Despite the clear talents of Anne Hathaway and even Julie Andrews, the ‘big emotional payoffs’ fall flat. The fish-out-of-water premise of a modern American girl suddenly finding out she is nobility of a fictitious European country is half-baked (we don’t even see ‘Genovia’ until the closing credits). The obiligatory best friend character is annoying, and her brother with whom the protagonist predictably falls into infatuation is given short shrift.
Granted, a few physical comedy bits work fairly well, but most don’t. I do believe that even fluffy, youth-oriented Disney pictures can appeal to adult audiences. They just need to be a lot better than this.
Word Count: 197
Copyright 2002 by Toby Baldwin
Comments? E-mail Toby!