Aug 19, 2012

The Princess Diaries, 2001

The Princess Diaries, 2001
Director: Gary Marshall
Cast: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo

Stage: Home TV selection, late Sunday night

The princess diaries in short: Mia Thermopolis is the average teenager - sweet, a little geeky and pretty much invisible to everyone with the exception of her mother, best friend Lilly and Lilly's older brother Michael. Making it through high school without throwing up is a challenge in itself for Mia, so it doesn't come as welcome news when her estranged grandmother shows up out of the blue and calmly informs her that she is in fact the heir to the throne of a European country called Genovia. Suddenly Mia's life is thrown into complete overload. She's being taught about scarves, waves and pears in order to become a perfect princess, she gets a makeover and a tough looking yet sweet bodyguard/limo driver called Joe. Things get out of hand when the media gets a hold of the story and suddenly Mia is thrust into the spotlight in both the newspapers and in school. On top of all that Mia has a choice to make...

Preps: I have seen this piece several times, but never completely. I don't have anything smarter to do. 

Reality: Miss Piggy goes to the ball. This is a cross junction between The Ugly Betty and Cinderella. How would you like to wake up one day and find out you are a princess of a country (that doesn't even exist)? And that you need to become something like Eliza Doolitle in My fair lady? (least that one was brilliant). The idea is taken from there, just put in the modern world with some american prejudice.

Julie Andrews might have been a great lady in The sound of music, but she certainly acts like an elephant in a glass store (to be more metaphoric than I wanted to be) in this piece. There is nothing real or glorious about the idea the screenplayer had, putting a "queen" in the american high school and turning a nice teenager into a princess.
There are some funny scenes, not to be so dramatic. The script does have funny dialogues and the process of turning is as amusing as for instance Sandra Bullock in her turnover (watch Miss Congeniality to see where I am going with this comment). There are things you can imagine could happen if this could be true and things you are curious how they will go after the young lady is introduced. The drive is similar to that one in My fair lady, or similar movies like Miss Congeniality. However, it is an average or even below average piece. You need to turn off your brains and accept some things to make it bearable. You needn't expect too much of it. Just average Sunday fun.

My personal rating: 4,0 (if you really don't have anything to do. Hathaway and Andrews are much better in other pieces where they acted).

Princess on IMDB

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