I have said before and I will confess again, I am just a sucker for the Disney cutesy live action movies. Princess Diaries, Freaky Friday, Parent Trap. They are predictable but always fun and light hearted and humorous. It's a recipe for film that has worked for Disney far longer than any of us care to think about. In saying that I am not a Hillary Duff fan, although she seems multi talented, her characters never change and her scope as an actress will seemingly be limited to Lizzie McGuire for the rest of her career.
A Cinderella Story is exactly what one would expect. It's a retelling of the old classic fairy tale with the modern day twist but director Mark Rosman, who has really nothing to claim fame to does a terrific job at truly modernizing the story without coming across as stupid or blatantly obvious. Duff plays Sam, a girl who's father is tragically taken from her after marrying a wicked woman played perfectly hideously by Jennifer Coolidge, you can't help but despise her in this role. She is accompanied by her two daughters, Brianna and Gabriella who are spoiled little brats that like to make Sam's life a living hell. Sam's "wicked stepmother" takes over Sam's father's pride of joy, his diner and turns into her own little cash cow while keeping her late husband's staff on to torture them. She always makes Sam grind her fingers to the bone in between school classes working in the diner. Sam has an online boyfriend whom she's never met, there is a school dance in which he wants to meet her, he turns out to be Mr. Popular, she sneaks out having to be back at the diner for twelve before her stepmother finds out. The rest of the story unfolds as you might expect.
As with all live action cutesy Disney type films, the cast shines...yes even Duff. She's too goody for her own good which works in this case as you feel sorry for her. Her surrogate family, the diner staff are delightful and funny and they help us root for the underdog. Rhonda played by Regina King, who has been some great family movies ie: Mighty Joe Young, and Daddy Day Care is perfect as Sam's protector and Fairy Godmother you might say?? And Chad Michael Murray is great as her Saviour and Prince Charming. The best part of this film is the way the retelling is handled. It's not done in such a way that you are blatantly watching another rehashing of an old fairy tale but rather handled delicately and done in such a modern way that you think to yourself "Hey that's almost like Cinderella." You actually feel for each character the way you are supposed to feel, and you want to see each and every one get what they deserve and incidentally they all do which leaves you satisfied and happy with the film.
This movie won't rake in any critical acclaim but it's fun and you'll enjoy it if you like this style of movie. I suggest checking it out!! 7/10