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Movie review

Cinderella watchers won't have a ball

Published July 26, 2004

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris
Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray in A Cinderella Story.

Movie: A Cinderella Story

Rating: PG for mild language and innuendo

Summary: This modern-day Cinderella story places high school senior Sam Martin (Hilary Duff) under the control of her wicked stepmother, Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge), after her loving father died in an earthquake when she was quite young. Knowing that Sam is relying on Fiona to pay her tuition to pricey Princeton University, Fiona takes full advantage of having Sam at her fingertips. Meanwhile, Sam has an online relationship blossoming with a mystery guy from her school (Chad Michael Murray) whom she met in a Princeton chat room. She plans to meet her "true love" at the Halloween homecoming dance, but Fiona's high demands on her are standing in the way. Sam faces a dilemma: Should she obey her stepmother and preserve her future at Princeton, or should she follow her heart?

My View: This is another film geared toward the female "tweenage" audience that falls short of the bar set earlier this year by movies like 13 Going on 30 and Mean Girls. It steps right into the stereotypical mold that plagues movies like this. The script seemed to be conceived by a bunch of middle-aged screenwriters who had the delusion that they know what young teens consider to be funny. What results is contrived, insipid and generally unamusing - an insult to the intelligence of its intended target. The "humor" (for lack of a better word) fails to tickle the funny bone of even its anticipated audience. The theater was dead quiet - a highly conducive environment for sleeping. I'd rather take a bite of Sleeping Beauty's poison apple, have my house blown down by the Big Bad Wolf and be chased down a bean stalk by an angry giant than have to sit through this again. Ever hear of that old saying, "Let's leave well enough alone?"

Recommendations: If you're in need of a sedative or perhaps something to throw away $6 on, I think you have found your answer.

Grade: F

- Billy Norris, 16, will be in 11th grade at Seminole High and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified July 23, 2004, 12:50:00]

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