Monday, March 25, 2013

Movie Review: The Princess Diaries 2 - Royal Engagement

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Fun romantic comedy that young kids can enjoy.
Cons: A few missing returning characters; sleepover scene
The Bottom Line:
A royal romance
And great continuation
Make this a winner

Mia Must Marry

I almost dismissed the first Princess Diaries movie as being too fluffy for me. But I decided to go and see it and had a wonderful time. So I was more then willing to give the sequel a chance. While I did have a couple minor complaints, I really enjoyed The Princess Diaries 2 - Royal Engagement also.

It's been five years since Mia (Anne Hathaway) first found out she was crown princess of Genovia. Fresh out of college, she's moving to her country full time to take over the thrown from her grandmother, Clarisse (Julie Andrews). There's just one tiny problem. According to Genovia's laws, no woman can rule without a husband at her side. Now Mia has just 30 days to find a husband and get married or she forfeits the thrown forever.

A suitable match is found in Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue), a safe but boring choice. As the country gears up for a royal wedding, Mia's heart seems to be going toward Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine), the man who would become king if she stepped down. And Nicholas is obviously doing everything he can to steal her throne, too.

Meanwhile, Mia isn't the only one facing matters of the heart. Queen Clarisse is facing the prospect of stepping down from the thrown and wondering what to do with that freedom. Can she finally pursue her true love?

Ok, let's just get it out of the way. The target market is pre-teen girls. That crowd will love absolutely everything about it. But do you mind if I tell you why this non-target audience guy liked it? Thanks.

Now right up front, I will admit the movie is predictable. You can see the plot points coming a mile away if you've ever seen a romantic comedy or family movie. So, why do I still like it? Because it is entertaining. We already care about the returning characters, and they make the new characters interesting right from the start. All the characters get funny bits. Mia is still clumsy, but she manages to be sophisticated at the same time. And any time her two maids are on screen, you are guaranteed a laugh.

The characters have also matured between films. Mia is much more confident even if she's not a picture perfect queen. And her desire to serve her people has only grown. Clarisse has continued to soften, and their relationship is very tender. Mia's best friend Lilly (Heather Matarazzo) is back as well. Her scenes are fun, but unfortunately she doesn't have that many.

The actors also help the movie. It could have fallen flat without good performances. And, while there is nothing here that will win awards, everyone does a good job of balancing the comedic moments with the serious and tender moments.

Having said all this, I do have a few complaints. I really liked Mia's boyfriend from the first movie, Michael, and was disappointed he didn't come back. Granted, it might have made the plot simpler then it already was, but I did miss him. Also basically missing in action were Mia's mom and step-dad who basically had glorified cameos. My biggest complaint was the bridal shower/sleepover scene that went on much too long for my tastes. Probably that not in the target audience thing coming up again.

This won't appeal to most boys, but girls will love The Princess Diaries 2 - Royal Engagement. And adults who haven't lost their sense of fantasy will enjoy it as well. It's fun. And since that was all it was trying to do, that's perfectly fine.

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