What a Girl Wants

Film
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Ignoring the advice of bohemian mom Libby (Preston), hip young Daphne (Bynes) ups sticks from Chinatown, NYC, and arrives in rainy ol' London determined to track down Henry Dashwood (Firth), the father she's never known owing to a mix-up. No sooner has she completed a crash course in rhyming slang and found a boyfriend than she's discovering that dad, a former biker boy, is a stinking rich Lord and aspiring MP. Constitutional objection overruled, what's more of a problem is his scheming fiancée (Chancellor) and her toffee-nosed daughter, whose sartorially challenged feathers are ruffled when Daphne and a worried Libby show up at the stately pile. In case you're still interested, this Cinderella story is based on William Douglas Home's play The Reluctant Debutante, and it's not nearly as bad as 2001's The Princess Diaries. Which, admittedly, isn't saying much. But Gordon's paltry offering is hard to dislike. For one thing, there's real mischief underlying the deployment of sexless English caricatures fawning over the Royals at society balls. For another, there's Firth, whose repressed aristo schtick remains carefully restrained, investing even the sappiest of developments with conviction and sympathy.

Release details

Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Dennie Gordon
Screenwriter: Jenny Bicks, Elizabeth Chandler
Cast: Amanda Bynes
Colin Firth
Kelly Preston
Eileen Atkins
Anna Chancellor
Jonathan Pryce
Oliver James
Soleil McGhee
Peter Reeves
Sylvia Syms