What A Girl Wants
Its not a good sign when a movie is named after a Christina Aguilera song.
(It could have been worse, I guess, this could be Dirrty: The Movie.)
But the title of this movie is actually pretty accurate. This is what a
girl wants. At least that was the feeling I got when I saw this film in a
theater packed with eight to thirteen-year old girls and some frazzled
mothers, and they all seemed to be enjoying the movie more than I was.
didnt hate it, either. It was a pleasant enough piece of fluff
school special at feature length. Not to in any way suggest that What A
Girl Wants is a good film. In many ways it is insufferably bad. It
goes down smoothly enough, though. The films ads are quite vocal in
comparing it to The Princess Diaries, which is not too surprising
since it is essentially the same movie.
Amanda Bynes plays Daphne, an
American teenager who finally comes in contact with her royal family. Her
mother Libby (Kelly Preston), is a bohemian free spirit who never gave up
her musical aspirations (though would a real bohemian sing Celine Dion
covers as a wedding singer?). Years earlier she had met and fallen in love
with a British aristocrat, Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth). They were
married, but eventually his uptight family forced her out. But, from the
time she was a baby, Daphne has dreamed of finally getting to know her
it's 2003, when about half of all
children are growing up in single-parent households.
Still, well give the
plot the benefit of the doubt. Now this storyline would be a little more buyable if it was 1960
and Hayley Mills was the star
Bynes catches a plane to London without even
telling her mother, which seems rather heartless for someone who so values
the parent-child relationship. Once across the pond, she catches a tour in
a double-decker bus while the Clashs London Calling pounds on the
soundtrack. (Did the filmmakers even bother to listen to the lyrics to this
song, or did they just assume their audience wouldnt know this old song and
would only understand the word London was in it?)
Daphne meets a cute Brit
singer (Oliver James) whose accent occasionally disappears for no apparent
reason. When she meets her father, he is about to remarry for the first
time since Libby disappeared, to the daughter of his top aide (Jonathan
Pryce.) His fiancée, Glynnis (Anna Chancellor, playing the exact same role
as she played in Four Weddings and a Funeral) and her daughter
(Christina Cole) are snooty aristocrats who try to make Daphne look bad, but
Henry quickly comes to love her vivaciousness.
Of course, this dreadful
American girl becomes a huge sensation in the Carnaby Street tabloids,
severely hampering Lord Henrys political clout. The family tries to get
Daphne to curb her exuberance, but they eventually realize... to
quote her hunky new boyfriend... why should Daphne try to fit in when she was
born to stand out?
These little plot developments really mean nothing,
though, because the happy ending has been inevitable since the opening
credits. The snooty people will get their comeuppance, Henry will realize
love is more important than politics or appearances, Daphne will get a rich
dad and a cute boyfriend and Libby a loving husband. Still, the movie gently gives the girls
watching it some nice lessons in self-confidence and family love.
important and interesting thing about this movie is Bynes, who shows here
that she is a natural star who has what it takes to
make the leap from TV to film. I just
hope her next film has a little more substance.
©2003 PopEntertainment.com All rights reserved.
Posted: April 4, 2003.