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Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
By Moira Macdonald
"The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," a movie that goes on for approximately as long as Queen Victoria's reign, is not intended to appeal to a wide audience and indeed, it won't. It's aimed at those for whom "cute" is the highest form of praise, and for whom a movie is not complete unless it features pretty dresses, squeaky-clean romance and a cat wearing a tiara. In other words, this is a pink movie, and if you're not a girl, off you go there's not much for you here.
Directed by Garry Marshall, the movie is undeniably cute. But it's also often a gooey mess, with a plot that manages to be both wearisome and preposterous (to grown-ups, that is). Nonetheless, there's plenty that girls, and others, can learn from it. Here are just a few of the philosophies it (endlessly) offers:
The Guy With the Best Hair Always Wins. The film's plot, though it takes a while to sort out, is basically a love triangle. Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway), now ensconced in Genovia at the palace of her grandmother Clarisse (Julie Andrews), finds that she must marry to succeed to the throne. An engagement with an English nobleman named Andrew (Callum Blue) is hastily arranged, and a bitter enmity between Mia and Sir Nicholas (Chris Pine) develops which means, in girl code, that she thinks he's kind of cute, too. Andrew is nice, but his hair is flat and mousy; Nicholas, on the other hand, has mastered the use of styling products and sports a 'do with gravity-defying volume at the roots. Anyone care to guess who the winner might be?
It's All About the Outfit. Mia's new closet, beautifully stocked with frocks, jewels and fetching little accessories, gets a more dramatic introduction and, in fact, more screen time than many of the supporting characters. (Not that I minded; I was too busy coveting it to care. Sometimes girls grow up to be movie critics a line of work that, alas, offers fewer material rewards than princess-hood.)
"PD2" doesn't exactly rock (except for that cat in the tiara, who shows Andrews-like poise), but its message is a pleasant one, and it should keep girls happy until the next pink movie comes along.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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