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A Cinderella Story

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Cinderella Story

Starring: Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge
Director: Mark Rosman
Rated: PG
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Comedy, Romance

*Also starring: Chad Murray, Dan Byrd, Regina King, Julie Gonzalo, Lin Shaye, Madeline Zima, Andrea Avery, Mary Pat Gleason, Paul Rodriguez, Whip Hubley, Kevin Kilner, Erica Hubbard

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

Perky Cinderella no longer needs Prince Charming to save her in this awkward, updated fairy tale. She not only saves herself but him, too - at least his psyche.

It's 2004 in the San Fernando Valley, where high school senior Sam Montgomery (Hilary Duff) juggles being a straight-A student - dreaming of going to Princeton - with the demands of her job, bussing tables at the '50s diner that her obnoxious stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge) inherited from her father. Despite the fact that she's smart and pretty, Sam's constantly ridiculed by her silly stepsisters (Andrea Avery, Madeline Zima) which lowers her self-esteem. But she has a secret admirer, a sensitive soul from an Internet chat room. He goes to her school but she has no idea who he is, so they agree to meet at the Halloween Dance. But how can Sam go? And what will she wear? That's where the waitress Rhonda (Regina King) comes to the rescue. Then Sam freaks out when she discovers that her Prince Charming is Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the Big Man on Campus: the popular captain of the football team. Austin aims for Princeton and not fulfill his father's demand that he play football for USC. But Austin can't figure out who his cyber-Cinderella really is. The only clue she left behind was her cellphone.

Written by Leigh Dunlap and directed by Mark Rosman, the concept tries to capture the insecure angst of contemporary teens. Problem is: supposedly smart Austin as thick as a plank, and the unbelievable script drowns in so many clichés that it becomes tedious - except for Hilary Duff's most devoted "Lizzie McGuire" fans. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "A Cinderella Story" is a shallow, bland, fluffy 4, outclassed by "Mean Girls" and "Ella Enchanted."

Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger

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