A Cinderalla Story

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Sam Martin (Hilary Duff) has a rough life at home and does menial work to earn cash, but she has dreams that allow her to escape. But sooner or later, she has to return to the real world and face her problems. She isn’t popular at school, though she does have a few close friends, but her real issues are found at home. Her father owned a diner and treated Sam with constant love, but those days have ended. When he passed on, the diner was left to his current wife, a woman who used to be a waitress there. She is Fiona (Jennifer Coolidge), a stepmother who lives up to the tag wicked, as she always treats Sam like a lesser person. She is made to scrub the floors and do the worst jobs at the diner, then she is berated at home for all kinds of reasons. But when she loses her cel phone, she finds a chance at a better life. The mysterious young man who finds her phone sends her a message, which sparks a relationship of sorts. The two exchange emails and text messages, which leads to a friendship and if Sam gets her way, maybe more. The two have never met however, but that will change at the upcoming Halloween Dance at school. But can Sam, a common girl with so many problems, land such a wonderful guy?

I would go to see any movie with Hilary Duff in a lead role, I admit it. Even if she just read from a local phone directory, she is too cute to pass on. Duff has that wholesome, but hot look that works very, very well. So while I figured A Cinderella Story would be quite lame, I decided to check it out, just to see Duff in action. To say I had low expectations in this case would be an understatement, as I held out no hope for this picture. I knew Duff would be cute and fun to watch, but I also counted on a flat, recycled movie experience. But to be honest, A Cinderella Story wasn’t as bad as I braced for, though it is by no means a great, or even good movie. The film is aimed at younger teens and works on that level, as the pace is brisk and the focus on humor is well placed, while rehashed elements could seem fresh to younger audiences. Duff is great and seems to be having fun, while her costars include Jennifer Coolidge (American Pie, A Mighty Wind), Regina King (Legally Blonde 2, Jerry Maguire), and Lin Shaye (Detroit Rock City, Kingpin). The movie also benefits from a bold, colorful visual design that perks up the entire experience. I had a better time than expected with A Cinderella Story and while the movie isn’t great, it is harmless fun. Warner’s disc is quite impressive too, so A Cinderella Story is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

A Cinderella Story is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As this is a new release from Warner, of course it looks terrific and then some. The print is almost pristine, so the visuals have a clean, crisp, and well detailed appearance. In fact, detail is so good at times, the image takes on a much deeper texture, quite impressive work indeed. The movie’s vivid color scheme bounds off the screen, with rich and vibrant hues that never drift into errors. I found contrast to be stark and consistent also, with no problems in the least to mention. All in all, another excellent visual effort from the folks at Warner.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is used here, but the material doesn’t ask much of it beyond the basics. The pop driven music comes through well, with a lot of life and presence that spices up the experience a lot. But the music sometimes overpowers the other elements, though never to an extreme degree, so no worries there. The rest of the elements sound more than solid, but never rise above passable levels. A handful or so scenes have some added presence, but on the whole, the mix is basic and reserved. The material doesn’t need explosive audio however, so the experience is still fine and more than acceptable. The dialogue is crisp and clean throughout, with no signs of trouble in the slightest. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary is the main attraction here, as Duff is joined by several of her teen costars to discuss the production. This is one hilarious session, as the spoiled teens reveal their hollow minds, time and time again. How dumb can these kids be, right? Duff is presented well, but the others come off as pampered, undereducated rich kids with no real personalities. You can also browse some deleted sequences, or check out a promotional featurette that gives a quick look behind the scenes. This disc also includes the Our Lips are Sealed music video, some screen tests, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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