Ignore the G rating, Garry Marshall’s latest is about as inappropriate (and dishonest) as they come. Despite its San Francisco setting, not a gay man is to be found throughout The Princess Diaries. Mr. Robutusen, the titular princess’s next-door neighbor, may be a soap opera writer and the film’s over-zealous hairstylist may have a penchant for rings, but the characters are strangely desexualized. Not surprisingly, this Whitney Houston-produced film also goes short on the cocaine and marijuana. Surely this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Said camel (Michael Musto of The Village Voice) was fast asleep about halfway through the film’s media screening. There’s probably a special place in hell for cynics like myself, so let The Princess Diaries be my ticket to heaven. Pop singer Mandy Moore gets ice cream thrown on her dress but Heather Matarazzo (here recalling a younger Fairuza Balk) and her mammalian backpack steal every scene they’re in. The film has its flaws: it’s entirely too long, devoid of Andy Dick, ties itself up too quickly, and proves too obviously that teenage girls are need a swift kick in the ass to determine where their true heart lies. Regardless, The Princess Diaries is a sweet and absurd little fairy tale that should play better to its demographic than Marshall’s reprehensible Pretty Woman, that little whore-to-riches tale that made Julia Roberts a princess in her own right. Mia (Anne Hathaway), San Francisco teenager who discovers her queenly roots, is less naïve than Roberts’s hooker so this pill is far easier to swallow, especially when legendary medicine-giver Julie Andrews goes slumming and chows down on a corn dog.
- Garry Marshall
- Gina Wendkos
- Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Heather Matarazzo, Mandy Moore, Robert Schwartzman, Terry Wayne
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