Enigma

Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway.
Directed by Garry Marshall.
Running Time: 112 mins
Rated: PG

Mia (Hathaway) was born out of wedlock and Mia's father dies before they could meet. Her mother Helen (Caroline Goodall) has told her nothing about him. Her grandmother, Clarisse (Andrews) comes to San Francisco to meet her only granddaughter and to tell her she is now the legitimate heir to the throne of Gernovia. Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess Mia is a little taken aback!

In modern parlance Mia is a geek. Queen Clarisse has her work cut out preparing the teenager for royal life and convincing her it the best choice she could make. I wonder what happens?

Ever since the Sound of Music I have been a Julie Andrews fan. With the director of Pretty Woman in charge and with such a paucity of good general films around at present, I really wanted to like The Princess Diaries. It is, however, derivative nonsense. Not even Julie Andrews playing a queen can save it. Not even a good performance from Anne Hathaway can help it. The story is bland, the humour is obvious and any semblance of drama is completely absent. It would have been a hoot if the queen had turned toward the window at one stage and sang, "Climb every mountain". No such luck.

All I could think of throughout The Princess Diaries was Ita Buttrose's line that the Australian Women's Weekly sold out every time she put a tiara-ed royal on the front cover. Only the most dedicated royalist or wannabe could like this well-made rubbish.

Richard Leonard SJ

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