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Click for full sized poster

The Princess Diaries 2:
Royal Engagement

Starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, John Rhys-Davies
Screenplay by Shonda Rhimes;
story by Gina Wendkos and Shonda Rhimes
Based on characters created by Meg Cabot
Directed by Garry Marshall
website: www.princessdiaries.com

IN SHORT: Everything and the kitchen sink. [Rated G. 120 minutes]

A strange and unfortunate reaction to our viewing experience at The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement was that, even with an identical running time to the first flick, this sequel feels twice as long. Stuffed with more close ups of useless characters than you can shake a stick at, the sequel to the charming The Princess Diaries is a stuck in the mud time waster. . . but that's the marketing genius behind sequels.The audience is presold and, especially in the case with films fit for all age families, the "presold" description is properly spelled with a capital letter. We expected nothing more, and would have been satisfied with nothing more, than a light romantic comedy. We were delivered half of that. Princess Diaries 2 is a comedy light romance with two suitors and far too few smiles.

Following a fast four years at Woodrow Wilson something or other University, Princess Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) and her beloved cat Fat Louie return to Genovia, the country which claimed her in the first film. For this sequel, and for no apparent reason, Mia's grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), has decided to retire her crown and turn it over to the kidlet. Thanks to a the recollections of a narcoleptic Lord Palimore (Tom Poston), Mia is informed that she has thirty days to marry lest she be banned from taking the throne. Genovia doesn't seem to adhere to any standard Rules of Succession, but preteens don't care about things like that so get over it. While Prince Harry of the UK is preferred by our heroine, her choice quickly narrows to two: the leader is a found in a week fiancee Andrew Jacoby, Duke of Kenilworth (Callum Blue). The more interesting romantic conflict is provided by Lord Nicholas Devereux (Chris Pine), whose uncle, the Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies) is determined to steal the throne from the Renaldi family line.

As the feels so wrong it must be right romance builds, our attention is otherwise diverted by an engagement slumber party which does little more than to showcase a Disney star in the making named Raven as Princess Asana. She shares a singing stage with Ms. Andrews -- which was the one event all the grownups in our audience were looking forward do, as Julie's throat problems had previously stripped her of that ability -- and is otherwise useless to the story. Mia's best friend Lilly Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) returns to the scene while the royal lovebirds are hounded by a Scots-accented teevee gossip reporter named Elsie (Kim Thomson). The male parental units may enjoy, Mia's cute as a button pair of maidservants, Brigitte and Brigitta (Shea Curry and Anna White -- who deserve mention because, forgive us, we're old and single and there was very little else to keep our attention in this film <sigh>) while mom's looking for a different romantic slant will be entertained by the continuing relationship between Queen Clarisse and Head of Royal Security Joseph (Hector Elizondo).

And that there's the problem. In trying to deliver something for everybody, Princess Diaries 2 delivers a ponderous, fit solely for rental, viewing experience. The scenery is lovely, considering that LA substitutes for Europe; the costumes are pretty and everything else is totally ordinary. End of story.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, he would have paid . . .

$3.00

Rent we said and rent we mean.

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