New Reviews
Django Unchained
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Les Misérables
Chernobyl Diaries
The Cabin in the Woods

What A Girl Wants (2003)

Trying to fit in. Born to stand out.

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 105 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

The projector cranks into motion, the words ‘A Gaylord Films Production’ appear on the screen, and the unmistakable sound of sniggering sweeps through the theatre. Already there’s a looming feeling that this is going to be an extremely long hour-and-three-quarters.

Unfortunately, neither that nor the shockingly amateurish opening animation sequence were enough to prepare this reviewer for just how bad a movie ‘What A Girl Wants’ actually is. Colin Firth – hang your head in shame.

Amanda Bynes plays 17-year-old Daphne Reynolds. She lives in New York City with her mum Libby (Kelly Preston), who’s an unconvincing wedding singer (where’s Adam Sandler when you need him? – now there’s a question you don’t hear very often). Every year, on her birthday, she dreams that someone else could be there to join her and her mum. No, not Spiderman, though that would be pretty cool. It’s actually her dad (Firth), an English Lord/politician who has no idea she exists.

So, while mum’s busy belting out Celine Dion or whoever it is she likes covering best, Daphne sneaks out, hops aboard an aeroplane and before you can say ‘up the apples and pears’ she’s touched down in London. Only it’s not any version of London you’re likely to recognise. Full of bright red double-decker buses, cheeky chirpy Mockneys and sprawling country estates guarded by ‘warm night’-style bobbies, all it’s missing is Dick Van Dyke popping up from a chimney and shouting ‘God bless Mary Poppins’.

Soon she’s moved into her dad’s mansion and, like a prettier equivalent of ‘King Ralph’, is causing the toffs all sorts of problems with her bouncy American ways. And, wouldn’tcha guess it, she gets herself a love interest in the shape of the strangely-accented Ian (James Oliver). He’s the fresh-faced frontman of a band which takes “a short break” after just one song – quite the rocker!!

This all drags on through various scenes of enforced fun, sentimental poo-poo and half-hearted stereotyping until it reaches the point where even the row of little girls sitting behind me were taking the Michael. If they – the clear target audience – think such fare is rubbish, then what chance is there of anyone else liking it? Steer well clear.

It's Got: Colin Firth looking a bit embarrassed to be involved. And so he should.

It Needs: To be less – erm – crappy.


Rank rotten pile of nonsense that even dreamy-eyed little girlies should give a wide berth.