Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

This is what a girl wants

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 7, 2003

What a Girl Wants

  • Rating: PG

Summary: Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes) is a 17-year-old living with her mother, Libby (Kelly Preston), in New York City's Chinatown. Her mother was once briefly married to her dad, a British blueblood (Colin Firth), but the relationship was quickly squashed because his upscale family found her to be unworthy. Determined to fulfill her dream of one day meeting her father, Daphne eagerly flies to London with not much more than a birth certificate and an old photo of him. Lord Henry Dashwood never knew he had a daughter, and against the judgment of those closest to him, he reluctantly takes her in. She is hastily introduced to the high life of this aristocratic political candidate. Her numerous "Americanisms" are getting her noticed -- and not in a good way. And a budding relationship with a musician named Ian (Oliver James) is also complicating things. In order to live happily with her father and not ruin his hope of election to Parliament, Daphne needs to drastically alter her ways and become someone she doesn't like very much.
Young man and woman in a small boat
[Warner Bros.]
Daphne Reynolds, played by Amanda Bynes, finds Ian (Oliver James) as well as her father in What A Girl Wants.

My View: It's difficult for a teenage guy to fairly judge a "chick flick" such as this, but I'll do my best. The other guys in the audience were howling at the screen and pretending to sob as the gushy, happily-ever-after plot came to a close, but the film was relatively well received by the remainder of the viewers. The laughs came only once in a blue moon for me; much of the humor was fluffy, girly Nickelodeon stuff. But I do have to give this movie credit where it is deserved. It had a very apparent target audience, namely females younger than 15, and it positively scored a bull's-eye there; the predominantly female audience at the preview I attended left very pleased.

Recommendations: This is definitely a girls'-night-out movie, and only a girls'-night-out movie.

Grade: Because of its limited appeal, I can give it only a C+.

-- Billy Norris, 15, is in ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

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