A Cinderella Story


Directed by: Mark Rosman
Written by:Leigh Dunlap
Starring: Hilary Duff, Jennifer Coolidge, Chad Michael Murray, Dan Byrd, Regina King
Released: September 23, 2004
Grade: C+

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Sam.  She was an only child in a single parent family but Sam and her father were the most important people in each other’s lives and shared a special bond.  Everything changed though when her father remarried.  Fiona had no interest in Sam and wanted her own two children, Brianna and Gabriella, to always have the upper hand.  Sam’s world was then completely destroyed when her father passed away suddenly.  Leaving no will, the entire inheritance, including her father’s home and business, now belonged to the wicked Fiona.

Eight years have since passed and Sam is on the cusp of finishing high school.  Her life has improved very little and Sam is forced to do all the household chores whilst Brianna and Gabriella live their posh life.  As each day passes though, Sam finds herself closer to fulfilling her dream – to escape Fiona’s world and attend college at Princeton.  Mopping floors at her stepmother’s diner has given her the money so now she just has to make sure she studies hard to the grades.

Sam doesn’t have much luck in the romance department either.  With good looking guys notice her at school as they’re more interested in the big-breasted cheerleaders.  However, she has found a special someone with whom she has much in common – on the internet.  Meeting in a net chatroom, the two both know they attend the same school but don’t know each other’s identity.  After weeks of getting to know each other, the time has come for the two to meet.  Knowing she has to be back at the diner to meet her stepmother at 12 midnight, Sam sneaks off to the school Halloween Ball to meet her love for the very first time…

A few years back, studios caught onto the idea of pitching Shakespearean tales to a teen audience.  We saw teen remakes of Romeo & Juliet, Othello, Hamlet and The Taming Of The Shrew.  I suppose a natural progression is to redevelop a fairy tale and as the title so bluntly phrases it, this is a Cinderella story.  Drew Barrymore starred in a similar remake, Ever After, which was released in 1998 but pitched to a wider audience.  This though is strictly for young teenage girls.  If you ain’t one, then there’s no point wasting your time.

Leading actress Hilary Duff has a following in America and we’ve seen her here in films including The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Cheaper By The Dozen.  She’s badly typecast here and I can’t buy the fact that she’s a sweet, innocent girl who no guy would be interested in.  Worst of all was the father of Austin (aka the mystery day).  He keeps pressuring his son into living his own dreams and I’m sick of enduring this tiring, familiar storyline.  We all know how it’s going to end.

I thought I might enjoy A Cinderella Story but sorrowfully, there’s no fairy tale ending to this review.