Nightlife

A Cinderella Story

by Justin Stroud
Contributor
Friday Jul 16, 2004
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I’ve been working on how I can best describe this movie…insipid? Boring? Clumsy? I think, in the end, I’ll settle for all of the above. Cinderella Story, Hillary Duff’s newest teen drama is a big L for loser, and the characters get a big W for whatever.

First off, let’s look at the setting: the San Fernando Valley…only, it’s more like Beverly Hills style. No real smog. No strip-malls-and-pawn-shops littering the landscape like the Valley I know. OK, so I can suspend disbelief a bit. This I can accept…but there’s more. Stay tuned fearless reader, I’m just getting warmed up.

Our story follows Sam (played by a pouty, vapid Duff) as she enters the twilight of her high school career under the thumb of her domineering stepmother Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge.) She’s following her childhood dream of attending Princeton and spends the movie working on a romantic interest with her ‘Prince Charming’ Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray.) Sounds good. The only problem is, all of the characters are just plain annoying. How many movies have we seen where they take some manufactured teen-diva, throw a baseball cap and jeans on her and call her the ‘Ugly Duckling?’ I mean, aren’t we supposed to feel sorry for Cinderella? Instead, we get to watch her moan about the ’65 Mustang convertible ‘junker’ her stepmother ‘forces’ her to drive. And what’s up with the Warrior-Poet football captain, who just aches to quote Tennyson to random girls he meets in chat rooms? Right.

The script is terrible. The acting is marginal. The jokes aren’t that funny. The only slightly redeeming quality is Jennifer Coolidge’s stepmom and her bumbling daughters Brianna and Gabriella (Madeline Zima and Andrea Avery, respectively.) Coolidge is believable as the lipo-crazy, botox-bovine wicked witch; unfortunately, unlike her previous performances, she can’t carry the show with a script as bad as this.

In closing, this movie needs to give up it’s valuable theater space for something better…say, a re-release of Gigli? I don’t care. Anything but this. If you’re a big Hillary Duff fan, or need a two hour nap, I would recommend holding out for the DVD/VHS release…it shouldn’t be too long of a wait.

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