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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 EricDSnider

"A movie where Mandy Moore sings and Julie Andrews doesn't is a tragedy."
3 stars

Julie Andrews is one of the classiest, most well-loved actresses in the world. She doesn't do very many movies anymore, which prevents audiences from growing tired of her, and which puts her on a higher pedestal than actors who show up three or four times a year in some movie or other.

It also means that when she appears in something dreadful, like "The Princess Diaries," she can do it without getting the stink of the movie on her. The film may be badly written and lazily directed, but she's still Julie Andrews. It may be dimly acted, but not by her. Julie Andrews exists separately and distinctly from anything bad she may appear in. We will even give her the courtesy of not asking why in the name of all things holy she agreed to appear in THIS movie, of all things.

"The Princess Diaries" is about a 15-year-old girl named Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) who is klutzy and nerdy and timid, though surely she will overcome these things once she has a makeover, takes off her glasses and puts on a pretty dress. (And, of course, once she looks good, she will also become a worthwhile human being. We are familiar with this type of story, no?)

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. Mia lives with her mom (Caroline Goodall) in San Francisco and attends a snooty private school where her only friend is the almost equally nerdy Lilly (Heather Matarazzo). Then she learns that her dead father was the son of the queen of Genovia, which means she, Mia, is a princess -- and heir to the throne.

She learns this from the queen herself, played by Julie Andrews. Queen Clarisse wants to prepare Mia for royalty, but boy, does she ever have her work cut out for her! Why, Mia is as clumsy as the day is long!

The movie plays like the pilot for an ABC Friday-night sitcom, even resorting to the standard "two dates to the prom" plot device. (It's three dates, and it's not the prom, but it's the same principle.) There is nothing clever, sly or particularly witty about it.

It is also very badly paced: It lasts nearly two hours, which is extraordinarily long for a G-rated kid flick. Director Garry Marshall (responsible for the awful "Dear God" and "The Other Sister" -- plus the pretty-good "Pretty Woman" and "Runaway Bride") has lost any sense of comic timing he might have had. And the script, by Gina Wendkos ("Coyote Ugly"), has no rising action, no major crisis, no climax. Just a long series of stuff, and then an ending.

It goes without saying that Ms. Andrews is wonderful. Hector Elizondo is funnier than his surroundings as the queen's soft-spoken, deadpan assistant. And Robert Schwartman shows promise as Michael, Lilly's sister who secretly pines for Mia.

And Mia herself? Anne Hathaway is certainly trying, but she's not up to the challenge of carrying a physical comedy all on her own. She is also hobbled by playing a character who is written to be one-dimensional. She should be the wacky best friend; instead, she's the romantic lead.

It is possible kids will find the film amusing, though I question whether they'll be entertained enough to sit still for 115 minutes. If they can handle a movie that long, though, go ahead -- go ahead and put in a tape of "Mary Poppins," that is, and show them the Julie Andrews they need to know. Let's just forget she was ever involved in something so pedestrian, uninspired and forgettable.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/28/01 09:08:31
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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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