The classic fairy tale Cinderella gets updated for the 21st century, with the general idea – girl wants boy, girl meets boy, girl runs off, boy finds girl – intact but the magic (both literal and otherwise) missing. Following the death of her dad in an earthquake (in an unintentionally silly scene), young Sam (Duff) is forced to share her home with his gold-digging widow Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge) and her two nasty, dim-witted daughters. When she’s not slaving away at Fiona’s diner, she is running after her mean stepmother and stepsisters at home, and only her fellow waitresses and geeky pal Carter (Dan Byrd) are on hand to make her feel better. The one bright spot in Sam’s life is the email and text relationship she is having with a mystery boy at school who shares her dreams of escaping the town and going to Princeton – little does she know, however, that it’s dreamy high-school hunk Austin (One Tree Hill star Murray) she’s been communicating with.
While the film isn’t very funny, young girls will be happy to drool at Austin, who is very pretty to look at, but also pretty dim (all it takes is Sam’s eye mask for him not to recognise her). Grown-ups watching will grind their teeth in frustration over some of the plot twists that keep the two cuties apart until the end – but this movie isn’t aimed at griping adults looking for a fresh take on an old idea, and the little girls who like Hilary Duff will no doubt overlook the movie’s flaws and perch on the edge of their seats waiting for Cinderella to finally get her Prince.
Is A Cinderella Story suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...