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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.92%
Worth A Look: 4.17%
Average: 14.58%
Pretty Bad41.67%
Total Crap: 16.67%

3 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, The
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by Stephen Groenewegen

"No crowning glory"
2 stars

Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is a sequel to 2001’s The Princess Diaries. In the earlier movie, awkward San Franciscan teenager Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) learned she was a princess, and next in line to the throne, of a small European country called Genovia. She also met her grandmother, and Genovia’s queen, Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews). We take up the intrepid Mia’s story five years on...

After graduating from Princeton, the soon-to-be 21 year-old Princess arrives in Genovia. Genovia is intended to be a cross between Spain and Italy. It’s a Hollywood conception of Europe, filmed on a Burbank back-lot, where the men sport beards and everyone has a phony accent and funny hair.

Queen Clarisse is making preparations to step down when an oily viscount, Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies, Gimli the dwarf from The Lord of the Rings), interferes. He reminds the quaint Genovian Parliament of a 300 year-old law that a princess is not qualified to rule unless she is married. Before you can utter, “plot contrivance” under your breath, the Queen strikes an agreement with Parliament. Princess Mia must find a suitable husband within 30 days or cede the throne to Viscount Mabrey’s nephew, Nicholas (Chris Pine).

Mia and her diaries are the brainchild of Indiana romance/young adult novelist Meg Cabot. The original Princess Diaries topped the New York Times bestseller list and spawned a series (book number six is due in 2005). Movie No. 2 is not actually based on any of the novels, only on “characters created by” Cabot. Shonda Rhimes (Crossroads) worked up the story with Gina Wendkos (Coyote Ugly), and wrote the script.

In the best tradition of romantic fiction, Nicholas turns out to be a dreamboat. Mia is instantly attracted and must choose between him and her older, stiff upper lip British fiancé, Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue). Or does she? To distract from the slender plot, the screenplay is a succession of gaudy events - a royal ball, garden party, state parade, bridal shower, and of course a wedding.

Garry Marshall directs proceedings again with his usual level of polished competence. At least his predictable, feel-good technique better suits all-out wish-fulfilment fantasy material like this. Marshall’s last movie, Raising Helen, was ludicrous because it made the mistake of occasionally aspiring to realism.

The assured work of its stars lifts Princess Diaries 2. Hathaway carries the film with her klutzy charm, which helps soften Marshall’s bland style and unadventurous, mechanical direction. She provides a nice contrast to Julie Andrews’ smooth and elegant grace.

A bungled throat operation cost Andrews her singing career a few years ago. So it’s quite a surprise to see her work in a song here. In a low register she half-speaks, half-sings, reflecting the famed manner of Rex Harrison, her My Fair Lady Broadway co-star. This musical comeback is an intriguing footnote in Andrews’ four-decade film career. It’s also the most likely reason this movie will ever be remembered beyond its short shelf life.

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originally posted: 09/21/04 18:24:56
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User Comments

11/29/10 car a gulity pleasure romance flick with corny comedy, but anne hathway pulls it off. 3 stars
11/29/09 nora wazwaz love the movie like CRAZY nickolas is SOO CUTE!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/13/09 Anonymous. i actually preferred it over the first one. :P 4 stars
4/18/06 no absolutely noooo story, ppl watch it cuz the guy is cute (roll eyes) 2 stars
6/08/05 Valerie G. Not nearly as good as the first. 2 stars
6/05/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Harmless romatic story, what's the crime? Lighten up! 4 stars
3/15/05 Bernadette Quintana It is my favorite movie, and it's totally awesome with Julie Andrews being no.1! 5 stars
3/10/05 Steph not as good as the first 3 stars
2/05/05 Valerie White good for the family 3 stars
11/25/04 Abby Wrobel I likked it 3 stars
11/14/04 danielles this movie was awsome i loved anne and julie in this movie 5 stars
10/28/04 joe bloggs it was very very good 5 stars
10/27/04 ldjp it's a terrific romantic movies 5 stars
10/20/04 Barb Gilliland loved it! 5 stars
10/20/04 Jenna Its okay, but first one better 3 stars
10/06/04 Chris It's not as good as the first but the series is sweet and charming. Andrews is a treasure. 3 stars
9/16/04 Kristina shit shit shit! 1 stars
9/08/04 Bev Malone It was awesome but, I was wondering when it was coming out on DVD VHS?? Next Year? 5 stars
9/02/04 BMw it was very funny but the first movie was better just because it was talking about Kids. 5 stars
8/25/04 ctmc We loved it. Thought it was adorable 5 stars
8/24/04 Vitality1 I kept waiting for it to get funny. IT NEVER DID! 1 stars
8/21/04 Lynne Whitfield I think the movie was better than the first, if that isa possible. 5 stars
8/16/04 naveen reallyfentastic 1 stars
8/16/04 atanu stop peddling royal bullshit 1 stars
8/15/04 Peter James A want to be charming movie with no charm to give 1 stars
8/12/04 stfu It made me wish I could rip my own eyes out. 1 stars
8/12/04 McGraw SKIP IT 1 stars
8/11/04 Ray This is bad 1 stars
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  11-Aug-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004



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