Directed by: Dennie Gordon | 105 minutes | drama, comedy, family, romance, adventure, fantasy, musical | Actors: Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston, Eileen Atkins, Anna Chancellor, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver James, Christina Cole, Sylvia Syms, Soleil McGhee, Peter Reeves, James Greene, Steven Osborne
“What a Girl Wants” is an official remake of Vincente Minnelli’s 1958 comedy “The Reluctant Debutante”, based on the play by William Douglas Home. The “evil stepmother and sister storyline” makes it a modern and very successful version of Cinderella. The film is very sweet and the plot is just as predictable as that of a romantic comedy. But it is a nice feel-good movie, which you should not watch with too high expectations.
Director Dennie Gordon has mainly written many television series, including “Ally McBeal”, “Jack & Jill”, “Chicago Hope” and the teen series “Dawsons Creek”. “What a Girl Wants” is her second feature after “Joe Dirt” (2001).
The role of Daphne is played by 17-year-old Amanda Bynes. We will probably hear a lot more from this young talent, who is already a real star in America. At the age of 12 she already had her own Amanda Show (which can be seen every day around 10:30 pm on Nickelodeon). Her father is played by Colin Firth. Hope Springs (2001) also a film with Firth, pales next to this comedy. Kelly Preston plays the role of a hippie mother. She is a wedding singer and it is really Preston you can hear singing. Oliver James, who makes his debut as Daphne’s boyfriend Ian, also really sings in the film. If James hadn’t passed the “What a Girl Wants” auditions, he would have been in Simon Fuller’s latest boy band (the man behind the Spice Girls and Idols). The “evil stepsister” is beautifully portrayed by Christina Cole and her mother, played by Anna Chancellor, will immediately be loathed by the target audience. Chancellor has already been rejected by Colin Firth in the mini television series “Pride & Prejudice” (1995) and also in What a Girl Want she is not very successful. Hugh Grant once had the honor of having her stand before the altar in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994).
The makers of “What a Girl Wants” know exactly what girls of that age and with a healthy dose of fantasy want: to live in a fairy tale, a father like Colin Firth and a boyfriend who plays in a band. Chocolates and tissues to hand and the girls’ night can begin.