Published Aug 01, 2004Charles Perrault's story of Cinderella is timeless, filled with ever-important themes of self-respect and misused authority. Yet how many times do we really need to experience this story translated into film? In addition to the very popular '50s Walt Disney adaptation, we just had Drew Barrymore give us her take a few years back with Ever After. And now a modern take on the classic has arrived with A Cinderella Story, with Hilary Duff filling the glass slippers this time around. There is no doubt that Perrault has been turning in his grave since this one went into production.
Duff plays Sam, a Los Angeles high school student who has her share of problems. Her controlling stepmother Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge) works her to the bone both around the house and at her diner. Sam dreams of leaving this life, which leads her to a chatroom for aspiring Princeton students, where she begins an online relationship with a cyber Prince Charming (Chad Michael Murray, who seems to only be capable of expressing a maximum of three emotions). The two agree to meet at a costume dance and I'm sure you know the rest of the story.
Duff is barely mediocre, bordering on irritating on many different occasions, and the numerous subplots are often ridiculous and boring. In fact, the script (by newcomer Leigh Dunlap) as a whole is so bland and uninspired that there wasn't really much director Mark Rosman could have done.
As the wicked stepmother, Jennifer Coolidge was the only reason I didn't walk out of the theatre after half-an-hour. The best thing about the Legally Blonde and American Pie films, Coolidge somehow makes her lines (which, honestly, could have been written by monkeys) sound somewhat humorous.
Still, don't see A Cinderella Story. Instead, go watch Hilary Duff's arch-rival Lindsay Lohan's Mean Girls again. At least Lohan knows what a decent script looks like. (Warner)