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

For young girls, their 'Princess' has come

Published August 16, 2004

[Buena Vista Pictures]
Anne Hathaway is back as Princess Mia in Princess Diaries 2.

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Rating: G

Summary: This movie picks up five years after The Princess Diaries left off, with typical-teenager-turned-princess Mia (Anne Hathaway), of the fictional country of Genovia, graduating college with a political science degree and turning 21. That makes her eligible to become queen of Genovia, a position from which her grandmother, Clarisse (Julie Andrews), is retiring after many years. But a newly enforced law will prohibit Mia from taking thethrone unless she is married. The parliament gives Mia 30 days to marry or the throne will go to the nephew of power-hungry parliament member Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies). Mia is under serious pressure, and she sets out on a quest for the perfect bachelor before her time runs out.

My View: Three years after the release of The Princess Diaries, this film is out to please the 5- to 10-year-old princess wanna-bes out there - and it will accomplish that. For most teens and adults, it will be a groaner. Still, it is nice to have a good G-rated film on the market. The parents of the target audience will certainly appreciate a nonoffensive film. With that young age group in mind (and all others, for that matter), the running time exceeded what it should have by clocking in at just less than two hours. The story could have been told more efficiently in 75 or 80 minutes. That aside, there is more to enjoy here than in Hilary Duff's latest "princess" attempt, A Cinderella Story. Anne Hathaway's acting is more polished, and the story has more of a fairy-tale quality and isn't insulting to its audience. This sequel has a more narrow appeal than the first Princess Diaries had, and it lost some of the freshness and edge, but I can guarantee that it will make every little girl out there jump for joy.

Recommendations: Girls ages 5 to 10

Grade: C+

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

[Last modified August 17, 2004, 11:10:21]

Here's the rest of today's Xpress

  • Dancing to silence
  • Mission accomplished

  • Movie review
  • For young girls, their 'Princess' has come
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