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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Princess Diaries (2001)



Reviews and Comments

The first hour of The Princess Diaries is predictable but fun. It's a reenactment of that old fairy tale device where an ordinary teenaged girl discovers she's actually the princess of a small foreign country. Julie Andrews, playing the queen, brings it home for us: she exudes nothing but class, yet she's warm and humorous at the same time. The contrast between her character and that of the requisite teenaged girl, who is lumbering and abrupt, provide most of the film's amusement. The high point is a dinner scene, a classic case of comic escalation, but I won't spoil it.

Then comes the second hour, which holds the formula of the story a little too tightly. We grind through familiar plot devices arduously, through misunderstandings and reconciliations and attempts to trick us into thinking our heroines will make the wrong decisions. It's a let-down from the first half, which, while no less a follower of formula, was freer to let the characters be themselves instead of plot slaves.

I would still recommend the movie, however, because there is enough to like to please, particularly those whom the movie is aimed at in the first place.

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