There have probably thousands been a 1,000 remakes of the Cinderella fairy tale, and What A Girl Wants is simply number 1,001, no better and no worse than any of the others.
It will simply take its place in line, make a few dollars, and exit from memory quietly.
The story mostly takes place in England, but there is a strong fairy tale introduction narrated by the main character, Daphne, played by Amanda Bynes.
The back-story explains that Daphne is the child of an English lord and a New York songstress, and scheming lackey Alastair (Jonathan Pryce, who lends the appropriate amount of creditability) splits them apart, sending Daphne’s mother back to the States.
At present, Daphne has turned 17 years old and decides to travel to London to meet her father, Henry, played by Colin Firth (The Importance of Being Earnest, Bridget Jones’s Diary).
Her goal is to meet the “other half of” herself, and to find out who she really is. The modern day fairy tale found here is that the movie is not about a paternity suit, as the title suggests.
So Daphne goes, prat-falling all the way, to find her father. When they meet, he decides to take her in, much to the dismay of Alastair, who has arranged for Henry to marry his daughter and adopt his granddaughter, thereby sealing his lineage into royalty. That would be the entrance of the evil stepmother and sister.
Aside from a certain love interest, who sports an uneven accent, the movie plods along slowly and predictably enough for older women to discuss what is going to happen next.
In order to ensure that the audience is not lost on the theme, Daphne explains to her future stepsister that she is Cinderella, and she wins in the fairy tale. Go on, girl.
So, two London fashion montages later, Daphne attempts to settle down her Yankee ways and become more of a lady.
Disaster strikes when the evil stepsister locks Daphne in a closet during the father-daughter dance at her own coming out party.
Poor Daphne runs back to America, where her father follows and makes it all better by marrying her mother (cleverly avoiding child support payments).
Not really much stands out in this 100-minute, to quote the movie, “ass numbingly dull” flick that will be most appreciated by 13-year-olds.
There is a fashion show scene that features cameos by the Royal Family and also features shots where you can see the film title on curtains in the background.
One can only imagine that the editor fell asleep in the booth during post production.
Bynes is most famous for the myriad work she has done for Nickelodeon, including the voice of Taffy on Rugrats.
What a Girl Wants does resemble a Nickelodeon program, albeit with a higher budget and a lot more shots of Bynes midriff.
So go see this movie, if tummies are your thing.
Comedy, PG, Running time: 100 minutes
Contact Jeff Novak at firstname.lastname@example.org