Hello, Spongey here.
Guess what’s back. Back again. ….Lame joke aside, holy crap. It feels like it was just yesterday that I put up my final weekly review. And yet it’s been a bit over a full month. Crazy.
Things have been fine since then. Did plenty of general reviews and other projects. You should expect more coming, including a list next week. Anyway, if you recall, I didn’t so much quit as much as I just changed the schedule to…whenever I feel like.
I have considered doing one at month on a random day and I might end up doing that since I have plans to do something on each month of the rest of 2016, but that was a coincidence.
I did what I did because I didn’t want all that work on my plate every week, so making it be when I personally feel like it just makes things easier for me. I always planned to do one in August as a small comeback from my break.
And the film I chose was on my list of things I always wanted to do, and I sadly never got to it. Granted it was only because I wanted to do it’s sequel feautring Selena Gomez, but I still wanted to do it.
So here we are. At first glance it doesn’t’ seem worth getting to, but see from now on I am watching the film at least once before I review it. I did so here and while it’s nothing crazy, it is worth reviewing for certain parts, so there you go.
Despite basically being a DCOM, this was a Warner Bros Picture. Made more odd given that it stars Hilary Duff. Yeah, in the long time I’ve been doing this I’ve never really discussed her before, or done something she’s in.
Foodfight doesn’t count.
She’s pretty the Disney child who started it all, and she’s actually done okay for herself, going under the radar instead of going crazy. I haven’t seen a ton of work, but she mostly seems fine as an actress and singer.
Since she didn’t do too much I don’t have quite as much to say about her. Maybe I’ll have more if I finally do the Lizzie McGuire movie. And since I’m talking about a conventionally attractive Disney Star-
It’s good to be back.
Released in 2004, this was a hit but ogt fairly negative reviews. (Although 11 Percent is a bit much. Yikes).That didn’t stop it from spawning a bunch of In Name Only Sequels. Heck, they randomly did a new one this year that is the reason I even wanted to do this now.
The 2nd one is called Another Cinderella Story, and yet the next one isn’t called “Yet Another Cinderella Story”. Huge missed opportunity!
Anyway, as for the creative team, the director did Life Size (one of those I used to think was a DCOM but is not) and the writer has done nothing. Exciting.
So before we can get into the one I really wanted to do, let’s see if the first film has anything to offer. You can already guess it’s not the best, but let’s see exactly what moments made me wanna mock it on here. Was it worth coming back for?
This, is A Cinderella Story
The movie opens with narration by our protagonist, played by Hilary Duff, telling us everything we need to know because everyone knows you tell instead of showing. She grew up happy with her father and they were pretty much best friends.
And of course it’s when this credits montage is at it’s happiest is when something goes wrong. Dad met the woman of his dreams and Hilraiy her herself a step mom, and some step sisters.
Shouldn’t take you too long to figure out where they are going with this. But before that, a lame joke.’
“Where do Princesses go to college?”
One day, an Earthquake hit.
“I’ll be right back”
Well, he’s a goner. And sure enough, he died…i know this because the narrator TOLD it to me, as we never see a funeral or the like. I’m okay with this stuff being stuffed at the start, with the kind of movie this is, but showing a bit more would be nice.
Father mysteriously didn’t leave a will (Yes, this is important) so Jennifer Coolidge gets everything, including Hillary. I’m sure there’s complex legal reasons why she can’t simply kick her out since as we see, she’s not a fan.
Of course, Step Mom waited til he was dead to be a controlling bitch. In this situation, I don’t get how she is like this without Dad knowing. We saw a small bit of her being bad at the wedding, so is Dad blind, or what?
But anyway, we join her in the present day as Step Mom bosses Hillary around all the time. Also, one of the step sisters farts because….comedy.
Dad happened to own a diner, so Step Mom owns it now, and forces Hillary to work there. The diner is really 50’s for 2004. After leaving work, she picks up her male friend who is decked out in the stupidest “trying to be cool” getup ever.
“What are you wearing?”
At least they’re aware of it. She actually forces him to put on something decent. Okay, I like her.
After we see the male friend looks like a fusion of Gordo from Lizzie McGuire (Can’t imagine why that popped into my head) and Joey from Liv and Maddie, they bump into the Alpha Bitch.
Male friend has a crush on her, which is actually important instead of just a lame gag. Granted, the arc this starts is lame but we;ll get there. And yes, Shelby is a fun Alpha Bitch and is the main reason I stuck with this one.
Then we meet Austin, the good looking popular guy who is with Shelby. He is also our love interest. I’d say “Spoilers” but they give it away fairly quickly, as you’ll see. Yes, they do that thing instead of putting her with the male friend. With how the current product is, I would have preferred the latter.
We find out that Hilary has a secret admirer who she texts to all the time, that she doesn’t know the true identity of. He doesn’t know who she is either. They hit it off pretty well though.
I think we should have start with her discovering this guy and slowly starting to like him, because at is, they pretty much already like each other for who they are, making anything that happens less interesting by default.
My point is even stronger when we find out the guy is Austin. Yes, they show his face right at this moment. Because who cares about suspense, just spoil it right away! Oh, this becomes much worse later.
“I can be surrounded by a sea of people, but still feel all alone”
It was better when Lars said something like that.
“You’re not a guy, right?. Cuz if you are, I’ll kick your butt”
Make your own comment her,e I’m lazy.
This montage of them texting and emailing, clunkily tells us bits about Austin, like how he wants to be a writer and stuff hasn’t told his Dad about that. That barely factors into anything, because we can’t make him TOO interesting.
He wants to meet his secret girl at the homecoming dance, and she’s not sure.
MALE FRIEND: It’s about month since you met him in that Princeton chatroom.
This isn’t quite bad enough to earn the Gag, but yeah, exposition!
We get a bit of something with Austin’s Dad, as he has Austn’s future set and doens’t want him doing anything else, because cliché. Back home with Step Mom.
“Did you finish those errands?”
Not gonna say it.
She wants Hilary to work tonight,, but she wants to go to the ball-i mean Halloween Dance at school. …Crap, I did this too early. Hilary pleads with her but of course Step Mom is a bitch about it.
“You’re not very pretty, and you’re not very bright”
…Yikes. I’m not sure how to feel about her. I love how apologetically evil she is, but it makes the story problem I have with her even worse. Speaking of her, I don’t think I know she’s evil, so let’s give her a scene in the diner to be a bitch again so the head chick there can snark at her.
She’s the best character by the way, cuz she’s so snarky to Step Mom and stuff.
Alpha Bitch and her gang just so happen to be here to force her bitchy-ness some more. This scene does have a further purpose, as Austin is there and tries to tell Alpha Bitch he might like someone else. She doesn’t accept that and things just move on like normal.
From how he talked, Hilary should be very suspicious.
Male Friend shows up dressed as Zorro (that is important) and long story short, Hilraiy decides to sneak off to the dance after all. But she needs a costume so CLOTHING MONTAGTE SET TO AN EARLY 2000’S POP SONG TIME!
Ronda (the diner head chicken) to happens to have a generic pretty dress for her, so they are off. At the dance, we see Austin as dressed as prince charming. SUBTLE.
Hillary arrives and people are blown away by her dress.
ALPHA BITCH: Love her dress, hate her.
You’ll see why I showed that line in a bit.
MALE FRIEND: Any guy would have to be insane not to like you.
Which is why you don’t end up with her. Yeah, I think some re-writes happened.
Hilary bumps into weird a guy who eventually claims to be her unknown boyfriend, in a completely pointless section. Mostly because she finds out Austin is him RIGHT after. So now our lovers have met, and everyone know each other.
“What’s your name?”
…Uh, you should know she is. She’s …whatever Hilary’s characters name is. I mean, a mask isn’t gonna hide who clearly is. I mean, it’s not like the writers would make him this dumb after the Alpha Bitch CLEARLY saw who it is.
Wait, did he and Hilary have any extended interaction, to the point that he would know he her if he was this close to her? I don’t think so…one of the big points I had planned for the review just got shot down.
“You’re Austin Ames, Football Captain, and Student Body President”
Thanks for reminding us, we have the memories of goldfish.
They hit it off, and Hilary sees how nice Austin truly is. Meanwhile, a random guy creepily hits on Alpha Bitch so Male Friend saves her, while doing his Zorro stuff. She can’t tell it’s him so she likes him at the moment.
When I first saw this, I thought it was weird but it clunkily comes into play later. I don’t know why would need another Cinderella-esque story to go along with the main one.
Hilary and Austin dance a bit, and Hilary confirms he has technically seen her before.
“How can I have seen you before, and not know who you are now?”
I would ask the same if, if this didn’t actually make sense since one small look at her in one scene wouldn’t embedded her in your memory. Seriously, I should have paid a bit more attention on my first viewing.
Their little date thing goes well, until it’s almost midnight. Yeah, gotta get that in there, as she has to be home before Step Mom gets there. It’s a bit hard for to leave, since she and Austin have been declared Homecoming Queen and King.
Hillary is nicknamed Cinderella because SUBTETLY.
She manages to escape and tells Male Friend she didn’t’ tell Austin she was her because of how they are from different worlds and yada yada. Even though she has seen that he’s nice at his core. Whatever, this gets worse later.
Long story short, they make it to the diner in time to pretend they were there the whole time. You’re lucky I skipped some dumb dialogue in the middle of all that.
So by now you’ve notice that the plot is pretty much just Cinderella in modern times. That’s a fine idea but they don’t really add much else to it to make it more interesting. Everything you’ve seen up to this point is as interesting and deep as it goes.
The cliches and contrived writing don’t help too much either.
The next school day, there is a big mystery about Austin’s girl. Austin is even somehow allowed to put posters all over the school asking who the girl is. ….Uh, the Alpha Bitch clearly saw that it’s Hilary, she even commented on it.
So why doesn’t she speak up in order to humilate her in some way? And if she noticed that it was her, how come everyone else who stared at her coming in didn’t put two and two together?!
See, if you wanna do Cinderella, you should make use the most iconic basic story element actually makes sense.
Instead of a shoe being dropped, it’s her cell phone which is conveniently locked. Yet he still gets the texts sent to her, which one of the friends think sounds….kinky.
Alpha Bitch is infatuated with her Zorro lover, and it makes sense that she doesn’t know it was him because he changed his hair quite a bit, and it’s not literally JUST a mask. And Male Friend actually wants to tell her the truth, mostly to get Hillary to do the same with Austin.
Yeah, his plot only exists to “help” main one. He tells her the truth and she’s so not pleased that she claims she never really liked him, to save face and such. Ouch. After that, Hilairy isn’t sure about telling Austin.
And that’s the only reason his plot was here. And it doesn’t make too much sense because she already knows Austin is nicer than this bitch. Also, this plot isn’t even resolved until so much later that it doesn’t even matter.
Austin tries to find his girl by basically having a bunch of girl approach him and sees if he can tell who is his girl. Even though he at least knows she’s blonde and it’s clear which ones obviously at least sort of resemble her, and which don’t.
It takes way too long for someone of authority to stop this. Back with Step Mom, she sees that Hilary has been accepted to Princeton, which means she’ll be leaving sooner than expected. She doesn’t like that and hides it.
Like a lot of plot points, this ends up being poorly handled later.
Later, Hillary is chatting with him online again and is about to tell him who she is, when she is interrupted by one of the step sisters. While Hilairy is off doing a thing for her, Step Sister looks at her computer and finds out about her online boyfriend and that he is Austin.
And that’s why you don’t leave that crap out of in the open like that if someone else is in the room when you leave.
Now that the step sisters know of this, they both pretend they are his Cinderella and go to him. Thankfully, he’s not THAT dumb and doesn’t buy it. This is never brought up again making this scene entirely pointless.
But that won’t stop them from padding it out, by having the sisters fight in a car wash because…we gotta reach that 80 something minute mark somehow. After that, Austin visits the dinner and ends up talking with Hilary.
“You know what bugs me?”
There are so many jokes I can make from this line, but I’m lazy.
He opens a bit about his whole deal and she kind of relates to what he’s feeling. The way she talks makes it painfully obvious she is his girl but like I said, he’s a dumb blind idiot. But otherwise, the scene is nice enough, but like the Alpha Bitch Dress line, it’s gonna bite them in the butt later.
The Step Sister’s thing does start to matter when they tell the Alpha Bitch about Sam (yes, Hilary does have a name in this) being Cinderella. Sam tells Male Friend about her meeting with Austin, and this makes her want to tell him the truth.’
Yes, it’s about time for the 3rd act misunderstanding. Not even hiding it, you all know it’s coming.
At the Pep Rally, Alpha Bitch and goons tell everyone the truth about Sam and Austin. Needless to say, this is embarrassing and everyone mocks Sam, for obvious reasons. There’s probably a reason their reaction is dumb but I’m tired at this point.
I can say that EVERYONE here besides Male Friend is an ass for being okay with her leaking this stuff. Also, no authority figures tries to stop this AGAIN.
The embarrassment and mocking is too much for her, so she goes home to cry. To make her more miserable (because being mocked by all of her peers clearly isn’t enough),Step Mom gives her a fake letter saying she was not accepted into Princeton.
This is really here to add more needless torture than anything else. And with it comes the sad pop song! During this montage, Sam never thinks of talking to Austin to straighten things out, and I can say the same for his side.
…You know, it just hit me how weird it is that Sam is mocked for being this ugly geek even though she looks like Hillary Duff.
Sam does at least grow some balls and stand up to Step Mom. She quits the diner job and says she’s moving out. I will admit this scene is kind of awesome, because there’s not much in the way of dumb things, and it’s at least of cool to see her stand up to her oppressor like this.
Especially when the other dinner people follow her example. Although this would work better as the climax, as here it’s a bit more important than some guy she likes.
With that having gone well, Sam goes to finally talk to Austin. Okay, this should be a nice little ending.
“You turned out to be exactly who I thought you were”
“I never pretended to be somebody else”
You kind of did.
“It was me who was hurt in front of everyone. I came to tell you I know what it feels like to be afraid to show who you are. I was but I’m not anymore…..It’s you that I feel sorry for. I know the person who sent me those sweet emails is somewhere inside of you.”
….You’ve gotta be kidding me. Words cannot describe how absolutely stupid and contrived this is. I don’t even need to explain because it’s so obvious, but I have to.
There are two main reasons this fails:
- In that previous scene, he did NOTHING. It was all the Alpha Bitches fault, and if in story she thinks Austin found out and leaked it, then it’s not conveyed at all. He was fairly embarrassed too. None of this is his at all, so why is she acting like he did something?
- This is the most important: SHE HAD A SCENE WHERE SHE SEES HE CAN LIKE HER FOR HERSELF. She saw he’s a nice guy with his own baggage, and they can have a nice conversation.
It’s painfully clear he’s just as much of a victim as she is, yet she’s acting like she found out he’s an asshole. It’s not even a misunderstanding, there’s nothing to mis understand! To be fair, it’s written as if she knows he can be nice, but thinks that is just deep within due to recent events.
But she has NO reason to believe otherwise. Right before she spoke up, he seemed to be willingly to apologize or set the record straight, and he never outright said anything bad. He looked as embarrassed as she was in that scene!
Look, it’s one thing to have a contrived misunderstanding. It was standard at the time. But it’s another to not even have misunderstanding, yet act like one happened! That’s lazy writing if I’ve ever seen it.
Because of that, I am not engaged in the story because I can’t believe the situation, or the characters actions. It’s just stupid.
…Wow, haven’t ranted like that in a while. This isn’t even as bad as even something like Jem but this bit got to me. Let’s move on.
After that, she bumps into Male Friend and has another bit that makes me think they were gonna hook up in an original draft. Because we need an ending, she goes to the homecoming game.
In the middle of game, Sam leaves since she can’t bear to look at him, and this makes him want to rush and set things right with her. He could have done this after she left earlier but whatever, this is more dramatic.
He goes up to her and kisses her. He doesn’t apolgoize, doesn’t set her straight. Nope, he just kisses her and it’s all good. Then it rains because cliché.
“You gotta love High School”
No. Then,..that’s it! Not it for the film, there’s still an important scene left, but for their development, that’s it. They break up for the dumbest reason ever, he kisses her and…that’s it!
With hiow she stormed out, she should need more than that, but nope. Let’s use a lame cliché to resolve this. Because they don’t want me to care about anything that’s going on. This ending is so badly written on a few levels. Even if it’s well meaning enough.
Then Sam pipes in with narration to wrap this up. Okay, I’ll just say everything in one go,because it happens about as fast as I put it here: It turns out Dad had a will that was just hidden, and it left everything to Sam who would have been too young at the time they were meant to see it.
Sam somehow finds out about Princeton thing and is able to get in. Austin’s just kind of…decided to stop being a dick and let him do what he wants. Male Friend landed the Alpa Bitch…somehow.
“We wound up going to Princeton together, and lived happily ever after”
Until the seq-wait, it’s in name only. Nevermind.
“At least for now”
Sorry, I just said it’s in name only.
The end. Yeah, abrupt ending, no surprise here. But what is surprising is how rushed it is. Instead of just ending things naturally, they really rush it. They drop it tons of information on you you, some of which doesn’t make any sense and rushes important plot points.
Most of these fail because it’s so rushed it has no impact. The will being hidden kind of makes sense but it was never hinted at, and makes you wonder why she kept Sam on purpose when she proved to be a burden.
What was the point of the Princeton letter subplot if it would be resolved so quickly it never mattered? It existed for cheap emotion that doesn’t worked due to being forced. Why does Austin’s Dad change his mind? We never see his doubts about him being with Sam we are just TOLD that he changed.
Don’t make it a thing if you aren’t willing to put time into resolving it. And does Alpha Bitch randomly accept Male Friend? We are told he landed a commercial, is that it? If so, that just proves her nature.
That bothers me the most, because it seemed to exist for an okay reason but this ruins it. None of it makes any sense! I’m not asking for Return of the King here, but either resovle them well, or don’t bring them up at all!
Okay, I’m done.
Good to be back, eh? Yeah, this was pretty meh. Despite all my ranting, I can’t bring myself to call it bad, because only the ending is truly bad, the rest is just kind of average, with some dumb parents.
As you can guess, the writing really kills it. The characters are bland, but are at least tolerable. I like the idea of just retelling Cinderella, but they don’t add anything to it.
They boil it down to being too basic, and the things they add make it too dumb and silly. But if that was the main problem ,i would be okay. No, instead they had to make the writing incredibly contrvied.
Besides the cliches they use, a lot of it makes no sense. They bring up plot points only for none to matter, and the moments that matter the most are screwed up. Austin is too dumb for the “Shoe” thing to really work, and the climax fails for reasons I’ve ranted on it.
If it just small things that were badly written, I could handle that, but I can’t forgive ruining things thts matter. We can’t care about the characters if the biggest moments make no sense and make them dumber.
On the bright side, the acting is fine, and there is some emotion here and there, that shows they at least put some effort into it. Just not in the actual writing. And honestly, it can be enjoyable as a guilty pleasure.
The ending bugs me too much for it to fully become that, but it comes close with how tweeny it is. Things like the Alpha Bitch can make it enjoyable for dumb it is. The ending ruins it, but comes close.
So if you can get into dumb stuff like this, or are a tween, it might be worth watching. But otherwise, you can skip it. Not the best start for Hillary Duff on here…but at least it’s not Foodifght.
(Hopefully the sequels will be better)
I do genuinely enjoy doing these, but I’m glad it’s not weekly anymore, I need to recover from these more easier. I’ll be back next month for the Brother birthday review, whatever he picks. In the meantime, there’s plenty of general reviews. This week it’s Kubo and the Two Strings, and Saturday will see the release of my Wander over Yonder list.
There’s plenty to enjoy if the big reviews won’t be as frequent. I do plan to do the sequels if they give me something to talk about. That’s all I got so..