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Cinderella Story, A


Stars: Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, Regina King. Dan Byrd, Whip Hubley, Kevin Kilner

Director: Mark Rosman

Diminutive, duck-voiced teenage star Hilary Duff has a disaster on her hands here. Oppressed by her grotesque stepmother (Coolidge) and two stepsisters, and forced to work at Coolidge's diner, which leaves her barely time to swat for her hopes of Princeton University, Sam (Duff) conducts a secret e-mail romance with what turns out to be school heartthrob Austin (Murray).

Comes a big night out, and Sam just escapes from the diner in time for her masked assignation at the ball. 'How could I have seen you before and not know you now?' Austin gasps.

This being present-day, Sam drops not a glass slipper but her mobile on her midnight flight back to the diner, but resigns herself to fate. 'Isn't it better,' she weeps, 'to cling to the dream that might have been?'

Austin, whose own dreams of Princeton are being stifled by an unsympathetic parent, recognises the downtrodden diner-girl as his true love, but doesn't have the guts to tell her. Never mind. 'I know,' she declares, 'that the guy who sent those e-mails is somewhere down inside of you.'

Coolidge, though as bad as everyone else here, does get the one good line. 'It's the Botox.' she wails. 'I can't show emotion for an hour and a half.' Is there a happy ending? Yes, you get to leave the cinema.

David Quinlan

USA 2004. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
95 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Dec 2006