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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 24.47%
Average: 26.6%
Pretty Bad: 11.7%
Total Crap: 7.45%

4 reviews, 70 user ratings

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Princess Diaries, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"It never arises above the desire to be cutsie fluff, and it is."
4 stars

“The Princess Diaries” is another Disney-tailored fairytale, courtesy of fluff movie’s grandfather, Gary Marshall. You know, the guy who made prostitution a lovable family pastime, a cuddle around the fireplace American classic of youth personified and adulthood identified. Why aspire to be anything in life when you can be a hooker who will win over the man who can provide you with all of your needs and transform you in a classy gentlewoman? So he’s traded in prostitution for royalty, okay. It’s a G-rated teen movie — the kind where, when the heroine finally stands up to the prissy stuck-up popular girl and gives her the expected comeuppance, the best retort the priss has is “You freak!” Come on, you don’t actually expect good ol’ grandpa to advocate naming-calling like “bitch,” do you?

An “invisible” 15-year-old (Anne Hathaway) San Franciscan at a proper boarding school has news broken to her a couple weeks before her 16th birthday, that she’s royal blood, a princess. The father she never knew was the blood air to the thrown in Genovia, “a small country between France and Spain,” but after his recent death, his mother — the queen (Julie Andrews), has come to see if the teenager will accept the princess position which is rightfully hers. The rest of the squeaky-clean comedy is a training-in-progress, the follies that come with that, and the follies that come with teenage puppy love.

Despite the setting of the movie and the misassociation the title could lend (no, it’s not about a drag-princess in training), “The Princess Diaries” is a simple but pleasant little comedy. It’s within the lineage of Disney TV shows like “Lizzie McGuire” or “Even Stevens” or “Jet Jackson,” but there’s an undeniable youth appeal that preserves its innocence without making it a pretentious or inept girlie-girl movie. There’s a certain appeal about a movie where the protagonist gets to be made-over and therefore has an epiphany about themselves only to become better understood in their own eyes. (“Just in case I’m not freak enough already, let’s add a tiara!”) The intent of “The Princess Diaries” never arises above the desire to be cutsie fluff, and it is, and it’s even a salubriously amiable go-round. There’s a wide range of colorful characters, popping up in this direction, darting around in that direction, and it again falls into the classification of pleasant.

My main qualm with the movie appears to be something the filmmakers didn’t even have occur to them: while it might be a big deal for a student at an ultra-preppie high school turn out to have royal blood and ergo be air to a throne, the immediacy and obsessiveness that the media turns it into is unlikely. While it would be quite understandable (if not completely implausible) for the media to make a fuss out of a princess of England or some other division of their parliamentary turning up in an SF high school, who would give much of a hoot about the country of Genovia? An initial flurry of press may even be likely, but the extent that it is taken to — helicopters spying on her at the beach, reporters hiding out in grass to tabloidize her, television crews constantly constipating the school, etc. — the natural reaction would be big whoop! Though some of the tabloid results may be funny, and even somewhat realistic to what celebrities must deal with, the front-page color coverage is dubious.

Hathaway is sweet in a pedestrian way; her more natural beauty tends to stick out even underneath the frizz-puff hairstyle, bushy brows, etc., and when she smiles, she shines. (When she doesn’t, her lip tends to overhang a little bit.) Andrews has a lovely presence, one of class and elegance, and she manages to leave some of that with the movie and blur the otherwise more visible demarcation. Hector Elizondo is well-cast and an unexpected bonus; a couple of others turn up out of the blue, but are out of their element, such as Sandra Oh (but still refined), Larry Miller (who’s uncredited) and Heather Matarazzo. Pop-sensation Mandy Moore also makes her debut, but her character is a carved caricature that serves its part and nothing more. Nothing special, but nothing embarrassing either.

With Caroline Goodall, Robert Schwartzman, Erik von Detten and a cameo by Fat Louie.

Final Verdict: B.

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originally posted: 07/28/01 08:01:06
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User Comments

7/11/10 art A COCAMAMIE MOVIE! 1 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Wonderful story. 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. a cute little girl movie that i watch when i'm depressing or something...:D 4 stars
11/23/07 art a rainy day movie 3 stars
11/02/06 Kiwi Ok,taken w/ a grain of salt,completely different from the book,robert schwartzmen is cute 3 stars
10/31/06 danigyo GOOD n waaoooooo AMAZING ! 5 stars
9/02/06 Stanley Thai A funny and a very good film. 4 stars
8/15/06 David Cohen The moral: Monarchies are "cool" and cool people can do anything they want to others 2 stars
12/14/05 cartoon mania it's one of the good 'nice' movies 4 stars
10/07/05 prarthana good 3 stars
6/05/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Pretty Woman made for teens. 3 stars
3/10/05 Steph good 4 stars
3/03/05 Stewart Lame, stupid, ridiculous, endless, dull, and boring teeny-bopper princess fluff. 1 stars
2/02/05 Jeff Anderson Very, very predictable, but the incredibly smoking hot ANNE HATHAWAY SAVES THIS FILM!!!!!!! 3 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams trite, stupid, idiotic...but hey, it is Disney 2 stars
10/15/04 rhyan dave candelario wow!1men its awesome!!!what's the title of the movie again?. 1 stars
9/23/04 Rachel A fantastic film and for me it is a definite want to see again 5 stars
6/16/04 anggia parasamya good movie, good cast ,especially robert schwartzman 4 stars
6/05/04 Dean Rapp OMG those eyebrows 3 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Clumsy ordinary girl tries to become royalty. cue laughter 1 stars
8/31/03 I Would Predictable, and at times boring, but the cast are perfect. 3 stars
6/09/03 Clarise It was amazing 5 stars
3/04/03 Angelina best movie 5 stars
12/12/02 spacecowboy the trick is not to think. 3 stars
10/27/02 CR I love this film! IT ROCKS! Best Little Girlie, Chicky movie around! 5 stars
9/12/02 palaboy101 She's trying so hard to act dumb! King Ralph is a better movie than this pathetic slop. 2 stars
8/22/02 yvonne the ebst movie ever 5 stars
5/20/02 Linda this was wery good film.i like it. 4 stars
5/15/02 Blake This movie was the best family film that i have ever seen 5 stars
4/13/02 Christine Vo due that movies fucking kicked a$$ they did a grreat job getting robert to play micheal ! 5 stars
3/23/02 Rebecca it was a great movie give it very well done 5 stars
3/20/02 alice worth watching! 4 stars
3/17/02 Pinnara I think it's quite nice and also provides some thoughts, too! 4 stars
3/01/02 Chowie Here's a nice piece of shit 1 stars
2/20/02 Xaver The book is better. Andrews and Helizondo are a good team. 3 stars
2/14/02 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Lame. Saw it on a day when I also had good BM, so could'nt compete for highlight of my day. 3 stars
2/06/02 Angela all in all, it's a family-friendly disney film. oh yeah, robert schwartzman is a god!! 4 stars
2/03/02 Allison Lafferty With or without her singing voice, a ROYAL pain seeing Julie Andrews reduced to such a role 3 stars
1/12/02 Kent Extremely predictable, poor script - typical teen flick! 2 stars
1/11/02 Michelle I luv Rob Schwartzman! Even if the movie sux watch it to see him! 4 stars
1/06/02 y2mckay Watched under duress, Enjoyed even less. Teenybopper crapola. 2 stars
1/02/02 laura AMAZING!! 5 stars
12/26/01 Tasha-Marie Moore AWESOME MOVIE...i'm watchin' it RIGHT NOW!!!! got it for x-mas. HIGHLY reccomended!!! 5 stars
12/25/01 alison i loved robert schwartzman...he did a real nice job. I still love the movie! It is awesome! 5 stars
12/23/01 Crystal it was neat, and Rob Schwartzman was great! i cant say that he wasnt attractive either. :) 5 stars
12/19/01 Jessica Robert is soooooooooo cute I WISH THERE IS PRINCESS"S DIARY 2 AND 3 5 stars
12/19/01 Monya_t This is the worst movie in the history of Shitty-assed films. Period. 1 stars
12/02/01 aurora robert is ohhhhhhh soooooo handsome 5 stars
11/22/01 Agnes It is totally awesome cuz Robert Szhwartzman is such a hottie , Anne is a cutie too 5 stars
10/27/01 Lydia This movie is great , the typical 21st century fairy tale,I love it ! 5 stars
9/21/01 Mia Syerina Anne Hathaway and Robert Schwartman are great actor and actres 5 stars
9/09/01 Deanna Long Cleanse your palate of it's coating of sturm und drang with this lover-ly fluff. 4 stars
9/06/01 D.K. the movie was totally awesome cuz it had rob schwartzman in it 5 stars
9/05/01 Harry Eylar A very intertaining AND enjoyable film 5 stars
9/05/01 Hanna I thought the movie was cute... not spectacular, but what did you expect? 4 stars
9/05/01 Revster.Jeffster kind of a snooze... but Julie Andrews is still the epitome of class- 3 stars
9/05/01 S. How nice to experience pleasant good humor at the movies. 5 stars
9/04/01 Ally I thought it was enjoyable, if fluffy. Bit too much stress on physical appearance, however. 4 stars
9/01/01 Suzz aimed at 12 y/o girls which is fine if you are one and not fine if you aren't 3 stars
8/26/01 Ray Great breakout film for Annie. 5 stars
8/26/01 kharisma a fun family film...if you're in the mood for a no-thinking-necessary movie, this is it 4 stars
8/24/01 mandie it's so rare to find a movie with a happy ending that doesn't have a "kiddie" story 5 stars
8/24/01 Liz a fun movie if youre not interested in seeing something too substantial. 4 stars
8/22/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Julie Andrews is a goddess. It was worth it just to see her. 5 stars
8/05/01 hilary i was the best G movie i've ever seen!!! 4 stars
8/03/01 Cindy Ruggerio Cute, funny, FAMILY, film. This critic is clearly a man, no explosions..boring right? MEN! 4 stars
6/25/01 Heidi Really cute! 5 stars
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  03-Aug-2001 (G)
  DVD: 03-Aug-2004


  13-Sep-2001 (PG)

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