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Film Review: ‘Cinderella’ is Mostly a Chore

Prime Video
Prime Video

Why does a new version of Cinderella exist? What more can be added to the story at this point? Well, apparently the answer is a resounding “not much,” considering this film. Sure, modern music is a change of pace. But, why mess with a property that already features good music? Then, there’s the more feminist angle, which is supremely admirable, but just not handled particularly well. The end result is a movie that just doesn’t really work at all. Plus, it’s nearly a half hour too long, making it a chore and a slog to sit through. Hitting Prime Video today, it is not even close to worth your time.

Cinderella wants to imbue the classic fairy tale with the sensibilities of today. In theory, that could work, but the execution here leaves quite a bit to be desired. Instead, it just seems tired and like a craven attempt to convince folks to watch Cinderella again. Frankly, almost any other version of the story is the better option, compared to this. Aside from one or two decently selected songs, this is instantly forgettable, from top to bottom.

Prime Video

You know the story, so I won’t go through the plot in too much detail. Here, Cinderella (Camila Cabello) is less concerned with a man, and more concerned with being able to start her own dress shop. Of course, her vain stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) thinks that’s ridiculous, favoring her daughters over her. At the same time, Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is far more worried about having a good time than picking a wife, much to the consternation of King Rowan (Pierce Brosnan). You can guess what’s about to happen…

Convinced by Rowan and his more kindly Queen Beatrice (Minnie Driver), Robert attends a ball to choose a bride. Of course, Cinderella is there, helped out by her Fabulous Godmother (Billy Porter). Their connection is instant, but is she prepared to give up her dreams for a man, even a Prince?

Prime Video

The cast are allowed to run wild, or at least are never focused, and that mostly doesn’t work. A select few, like lead Camila Cabello and Nicholas Galitzine, have charming moments, but the rest appear lost. In particular, Billy Porter feels out of a whole other movie. Then, there’s the absolute lack of anything for veterans Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, and Idina Menzel to do. They get small bits to shine, but it’s very fleeting. The supporting cast fares no better. They include James Cordan (annoying), alongside Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer, and more.

Writer/director Kay Cannon found way more success with the Pitch Perfect franchise than she does here. Cinderella isn’t a good fit and it shows, basically from the first frame on. The musical numbers never mesh with the story, so it all feels shoehorned in. Then, there’s the running time, which is damn near two hours, and that’s wholly unnecessary. At 80 or 90 minutes, it would have been still bad, but at least bite-sized. Here, it overstays its welcome very quickly.

This take on Cinderella never once shows itself to have a reason for existence. We’ve seen so many better versions of this story. It’s a harmless misfire, but it’s disconcerting that so many people thought that this was a good idea. It wasn’t, and the mediocrity that seeps off of it is a shame. Unless you’re desperate to see someone from this cast, there’s no good reason to subject yourself to this flick.

SCORE: ★

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Written by Joey Magidson

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