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Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews
Director: Garry Marshall
Rated: G
RunTime: 115 Minutes
Release Date: August 2004
Genres: Comedy, Family, Kids

*Also starring: Hector Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Chris Pine, Kathleen Marshall, John Rhys-Davies, Judith Baldwin, Callum Blue, Shea Curry, Zrinka Domic, Madison Dunaway, Brad Golden

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT -- the sequel to, well I suspect you can figure that out -- is a definite disappointment. While the first one was a surprising little charmer, full of sweet humor, the second, and hopefully last film in the series, is full of jokes that are completely DOA. Who greenlit this lame script? And why? Surely someone could have come up with something with more genuine imagination and sparkle.

The plot this time has Princess Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), reaching her twenty-first birthday, which makes it her time to take over the throne of Genovia from Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews). Having just graduated from college, Mia is understandably nervous. As she explains to us in voice-over, "There was no course in 'Queen' or 'How to Run a Country 101.'"

But, not so fast girl, the nefarious Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) is busy scheming a way to get his nephew, Nicholas (Chris Pine), to ascend to the throne. A chauvinist, Mabrey invokes an old law which requires the queen to be married, causing Parliament to give Mia just thirty days to be wed or else forfeit her claim to rule their land.

Since England's dashingly handsome Prince William is unavailable, Mia reluctantly sets her sights on Andrew (Callum Blue), an English duke. They have a polite and respectable courtship without a hint of a spark between them. Nicholas, who is supposed to be a bad guy, turns out to be a sweetheart who doesn't really have it in his heart to stop Mia.

The moments in the film when the humor works can be counted on one hand. There are a pair of silly Ladies-in-Waiting who are funny when they won't stop curtsying. There might have been a few other funny moments, but I sure don't remember them. Mia's arrows, which always go astray, and her big closet with remote control drawers are typical of the story's lackluster attempts at comedy. Our audience could only manage a few random small laughs, but who could blame them? There just isn't much in this film, which is long on title and short on laughs.

THE PRINCESS DIARIES 2: ROYAL ENGAGEMENT runs a long 1:58. It is rated G and would be acceptable for all ages.

My son Jeffrey, age 15, gave it ***, saying that it was "cool" although that he liked the first one better and found this one too predictable. His favorite part was the mattress surfing scene. His friend Yasmin, also 15, gave it a full ****, saying that it was an "awesome" film and a really "good romance/comedy."

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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