Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
2004 by Tony Medley
On one level Princess
Diaries 2 is another example of Hollywood's male marginalization. I
guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, even though
it’s all about women, cast almost entirely by women, and is meant to
appeal to little girls, that the only bad person is male, Viscount
Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies). Compounding this, the other men in the movie,
love interest Nicholas Devereaux (Chris Pine), fiancé Lord Andrew
Jacoby (Callum Blue), and Joseph (Hector Elizondo), who has spent his
life pining away for Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), are
wimps’ wimps. All the men subjugate themselves to the women, who
clearly wear the pants.
(Anne Hathaway), who learned she was a princess in The Princess
Diaries (2001), now learns she might become Queen of the fictional
Genovia. Mabrey has other ideas, however. He wants to put his nephew,
Devereaux, on the throne, so relies on a law that a Queen must have a
husband to be enthroned. This becomes the threadbare plot as Queen
Clarisse wants to enthrone
Mia by betrothing her to Lord Andrew, even though neither loves the
other. Then Mia falls in love with Devereaux. Ah, what a paradox, one
that’s about as involving as the love life of a trout.
Gary Marshall elongates this flimsy tale. Despite the fact that it would
have been a problem for an ordinary man to make this into a 30-minute
sitcom (the field in which, incidentally, Marshall made his original
reputation), Marshall has no problem lengthening it into something
approaching two hours. While it delighted the multitude of five-year old
girls in the audience, this adult was squirming throughout.
The look of the film
is interesting. Except for an amateurish shot at the beginning that
reminded me of the beginning of Casablanca (1942), it looks as if
it might have been shot on location in Europe. In fact, it was shot on a
backlot in Burbank with other Southern California locations. Production
Designer Albert Brenner, a five-time Oscar nominee, came out of
retirement to create a realistic Genovia.
If you are a
prepubescent girl with a five-year old intellect, this is a smash hit.
If you’re not, bring a good book.
August 11, 2004