What a Girl Wants movie poster
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What a Girl Wants movie poster

What a Girl Wants Movie Review

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Amanda Bynes stars in yet another modern day teen fairytale comedy, and while the pathetically-titled What a Girl Wants establishes no new benchmarks and is, for the most part, one gigantic cliché, it proves the same old stuff still has something going for it.

Bynes plays Daphne, an American teenager who has lived for 17 years without ever meeting her father. She finally makes her way to London to meet her dad, only to discover that he is Henry Dashwood (the always likeable Colin Firth), a rich, elite politician running for Prime Minister. Henry takes a liking to her almost right away, but the rest of his family - including his fiancée and her daughter - are British snobs that would rather just see her wiped under the rug. As the election kicks into high gear, Daphne realizes that her American casualness clashes with everything the British hold dear, because, as you know, modern day Americans and Brits are so much different (note sarcasm). The question is: should she remain who she is or change to fit the picture? Oh, and throw in a love interest in the form of Oliver James, who plays Ian, a young musician who somehow is able to snag all of the big royalty events. Go figure.

What a Girl Wants is nothing special, as it has an incredibly predictable plot, standard characters (evil step-sister, bitchy step mom and a nice father that is seemingly oblivious to their qualities until the very end) and a cliché, Cinderella ending (and you thought it wouldn't!). Nevertheless, it is a cute little film that will appeal mainly to its target audience, younger teen girls. Bynes dresses up in lots of different outfits, and I admit that she looks quite nice, even if she is younger than my brother, and gets to go through the fantasy that lots of little girls have - that is, learning that you are the daughter of a ridiculously rich parent and essentially royalty.

Of course, being a 22-year old guy, I didn't care about that as much as the entertainment value of the film, which, surprisingly, was moderately high. I will never watch the movie again, but some of the jokes had me laughing out loud, especially some of the many one-liners that either Bynes or Kelly Preston, who plays her mom, pull on some of the more bitchy characters. I didn't understand the clumsy aspect of Bynes character - she seems to fall and hit her head a lot in the beginning - but that seems to be pretty standard for teen girl comedies these days. I guess there's no point in trying to figure out teenage girls...

What a Girl Wants is a decent comedy that, admittedly, was much better than I was expecting. As far as the genre is concerned, there are better movies out there, but, assuming I have a vague idea of this film's target audience, it is exactly what a girl wants. Sorry, that was a bit cheesy, but I hardly ever end reviews with anything remotely clever. Of course, I followed it up with that last sentence - and now this sentence... Well, crap, I ruined it.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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