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The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004)

You are cordially invited to the royal event of the season. R.S.V.P. This Summer

Directed by:

Garry Marshall

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 115 minutes

US Certificate: G UK Certificate: U

Country: United States

I might as well just cut to the chase and say it. ‘The Princess Diaries 2’ is rubbish. Oh alright, so I wasn’t exactly a screaming fan of the first one, so it’s probably not entirely surprising that I find this follow-up about as enjoyable as a DVD boxset of every Christmas Day Queen’s Speech ever recorded. But, where the talented young Anne Hathaway’s sparky performance was just about enough to drag the original into the realms of the watchable, not even she can save this one from spinning head-first into the Kingdom of Crap.

Having learned last time round that she’s next in line for the throne of the Atlas-dodging nation of Genovia, it’s now time for scrubbed-up schoolgirl Mia (Hathaway) to meet her peeps. So, accompanied by granny Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews), she heads for her newfound homeland to settle in and prepare for life as an almighty ruler. The trouble is, national tradition (which, let’s face it, is pretty much being made up as we go along) states that unless she weds in 30 days, the title will go to the smarmy-but-handsome Lord Devereaux (Chris Pine, playing “a true Genovian” who for some reason has an American accent).

Quick as you like, Mia fixes up a marriage to the cripplingly-dull RAF toff Andrew Jacoby (Callum Blue). Of course, this is much to the chagrin of Lord Snooty and his beard-faced uncle (John Rhys-Davies), so the pair of them become the moron’s equivalent of Dastardly and Muttley and set about playing random tricks on our heroine (many of which seem to have no particular bearing on their objective – such as throwing a toy snake at a horse, which is obviously terrific fun, but as a general rule never really achieves much).

As with last time, Hathaway is a fun presence on screen, but she’s not a miracle worker (she saved that role for ‘Ella Enchanted’). Most of the supporting cast is off-form, the direction from Garry Marshall is completely without imagination, and the plotline itself is just downright stupid. We’re supposed to believe Mia is the victim of a blossoming romantic dilemma when she falls for Lord Smugface but is betrothed to a man she doesn’t love (and doesn’t love her back). Sorry, but where’s the problem here? Why not just ditch Captain Dullzo and marry the good Lordy? That way they both get the throne, both get each other, and they all live happily ever after. But no, we have to trek through nigh-on two hours of outright farce before the whole thing finally manages to trundle towards the ending we all know is coming anyway.

It's Got: An impressively sneaky use for a wooden leg.

It Needs: To do without Julie Andrews’ singing - the years haven’t been kind on the old voice. It’s time to give it up, love.

Summary

A right Royal pile of plopsy.

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