In the Cliché Department at Warner Brothers the boffins are always hard at work, coming up with variations on several themes. One of these has been utilised perfectly here; girl searches for dad and finds self in the process.
It’s hard work cramming as many clichés as you can into a film and success isn’t always forthcoming, however I’m pleased to announce that in What A Girl Wants the cliché level has been maintained to its fullest and it’s a rip roaring cliché success!
Let’s walk through it now...
A little girl named Daphne Reynolds lives with her hippie mother. She is told the tale of how the cool singer (Kelly Preston) met a mysterious hippie (Colin Firth) in Morocco. They were wed Bedouin style and then went to London, where hippie guy lived. It turns out he’s next in line to be a Lord and his Dad (the current Lord) just died. Now the Evil Advisor (Jonathan Pryce) gets rid of the new Lord’s true love to mould him into a proper English gent and such.
|"Don’t let him in! I’m not even cute yet!"|
Fast forward 17 years. Hippie girl was pregnant when run off the ranch, and now her daughter, Miss Wayout, wants to find her father. She jets off to London to find him (to strains of The Clash singing London Calling, of course) and it turns out he’s a big politician about to be married to some troll from under a bridge. Miss Wayout (Amanda Bynes) arrives and is naturally all teenage and stuff, like, and she doesn’t, like, fit in like, you know? Troll (daughter of original Evil Advisor) is trying to get rid of her so she can be the Lord’s wife (once he gets into power of course). Unfortunately, Miss Wayout was just what the stuffy English doctor ordered, because all of English society loves her and her zany, madcap adventures. (You can guess the rest if you like, but I’ll give it to you anyway).
So then, Miss Wayout tones down her madcappiness and tries to fit in and does so swimmingly, thankyou very much, but her cool musician boyfriend (she met on the first day in London) thinks she’s a square now and leaves. That reminds Miss Wayout that she used to be like really cool like, and stuff. So, she becomes all cool again and her poor old Dad, the mysterious hippie guy remembers he used to be cool too, man, and well... that’s all you get for now.
Aimed primarily at girls between ages ten through 18, this is nothing we’ve not seen before. Riddled with clichés and awkwardness (Daphne falls over or bangs her head no less than five times) this is a very predictable film with very little to offer as a story (one thing I’d really like to know though, is why these films all promote ‘being yourself and individual’ yet they all tell the same story in the same way? Isn’t that a teensy bit hypocritical?)
Anyway, while it has some moments of humour, to me it all smacks like a million other teenage girl films I’ve... erm, my sisters have watched and by the end I was pretty glad it was over. Kelly Preston is wasted, Colin Firth and Jonathan Pryce are as well, and the supporting cast seem to get most of the screen time. This has also been very loosely based on The Reluctant Debutante, a stage play by William Douglas Home, but I’m fairly sure he wouldn’t recognise it.
A perfect video transfer, of course. Being released in cinemas so recently, it naturally looks beautiful. I couldn’t detect many artefacts throughout, the colours are nice and even, and so are flesh tones. Shadows detail is good, particularly in some of the interior mansion shots and blacks are true. A perfect picture all up.
Again, pretty much perfect. Dolby Digital 5.1 does all the excellent work and brings it home to us well. The dialogue is all crystal clear, sound effects are even and the music is fine. Musically, there are a bunch of teen girl power beats throughout and while it’s not my cup of English tea, it at least sounds great. The boyfriend, Oliver James, and Kelly Preston both sing their own songs at least and they are both more than competent enough to do so. Other soundtrack notables include Craig David, Meredith Brooks, Michelle Branch, Holly Valance and The Donnas. They lost a point for the song on the main menu that sounds like something is going on in the background during recording, however.