Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA/Canada, 2004. Warner Bros., Gaylord Films, Clifford Werber Productions, Dylan Sellers Productions. Screenplay by Leigh Dunlap. Cinematography by Anthony B. Richmond. Produced by Ilyssa Goodman, Hunt Lowry, Dylan Sellers, Clifford Werber. Music by Christophe Beck. Production Design by Charles William Breen. Costume Design by Denise Wingate. Film Editing by Cara Silverman.
As adorable as Hilary Duff is, the tired nature of this teen-themed romantic comedy will bore all but the least demanding viewer as it does its best to update Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale (and falls far short of the highly superior Ever After starring Drew Barrymore). Duff plays a teenager who lost her beloved father in a California earthquake as a child and has spent eight years being raised as a servant in her own house by a selfish, greedy stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge, who is a riot) and her bumbling, idiotic daughters. Duff is also working hard to get into Princeton, maintaining an online relationship with a deeply poetic young man who she has no idea is actually her high school’s star football jerk (Chad Michael Murray). You know how it plays out, I don’t have to tell you, but I will say that as predictable (and completely unbelievable) as it is, it’s surprisingly painless. Regina King stands out as Duff’s sole protector, the hostess at the family’s retro diner business.