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"A CINDERELLA STORY"
(2004) (Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Extreme Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor Minor Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Moderate Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A contemporary high school senior must contend with her mean stepmom and step-sisters while dreaming of meeting her Prince Charming and going off to college.
PLOT:
Eight years after an earthquake claimed her father's life, Sam Montgomery (HILARY DUFF) is a high school senior who once believed in fairy tales, but had them dashed by her mean stepmom, Fiona (JENNIFER COOLIDGE), and equally bad step-sisters, Brianna (MADELINE ZIMA) and Gabriella (ANDREA AVERY). Although she has a good friend in Carter (DAN BYRD) and dreams of going to Princeton, Sam isn't happy.

That's not only due to being treated like a slave around her house and at the diner her father once ran, but also because other students, such as Shelby (JULIE GONZALO) and her clique, constantly put her down and Shelby's dreamy but misunderstood boyfriend, Austin (CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY), doesn't even know Sam exists.

Even so, her older diner coworkers, Rhonda (REGINA KING) and Bobby (PAUL RODRIGUEZ), routinely encourage her to pursue her dreams regardless of how others view or treat her. Her hopes are buoyed when she meets her potential Prince Charming first over the Internet and then in costume at the school dance, but she can't get herself to reveal her identity to him even when he turns out to be Austin.

From that point on and as Austin tries to figure out who she is and with Fiona doing everything in her power to ruin the teen's life, Sam must decide what's right for her.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Younger girls (who enjoy Cinderella type stories) and fans of Duff just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For mild language and innuendo.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HILARY DUFF plays a high school senior who dreams of going to Princeton and meeting her Prince Charming, but must contend with the meanness of her step-family and many other students.
  • JENNIFER COOLIDGE plays her mean and demanding stepmom who does everything in her power to put Sam down and ruin her life.
  • CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY plays the dreamy high school jock and class president who dumps Shelby when he realizes that there's someone else (Sam) who's better suited for him.
  • DAN BYRD plays Sam's somewhat goofy best friend and aspiring actor who's there for her when she needs him and briefly makes out with Shelby.
  • REGINA KING plays Sam's diner co-worker who stands up for and encourages her to pursue her dreams and whatever will make her happy in life.
  • JULIE GONZALO plays a snobby classmate who routinely looks down on and makes fun of Sam.
  • MADELINE ZIMA and ANDREA AVERY play Sam's petty and mean step-sisters who treat her badly and try to undermine her happiness.
  • PAUL RODRIGUEZ plays the short-order cook at the diner who also encourages Sam to follow her dreams.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this dramedy that's been rated PG. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives, while some colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present, as is some making out and various shots of young women in tight, short and/or somewhat revealing attire.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (mostly aimed at the protagonist), while some imitative behavior and slapstick style material occur. Some brief struggling and related ill-intent is present, as is some tense family material (regarding the death of a parent as well as a mean/overbearing step-family). There's the start of a very brief earthquake scene (that leads to the above, unseen parental death), while some very brief crude humor is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • One of the stepsisters lets out a fart underwater. We see the bubble and the other sister reacts to that, with the first stating that she has a spastic colon (and her sister replies that she has a spastic brain).
  • We see Carter with a fake Halloween knife "through" his head that has some fake blood on it.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Fiona treats Sam like her slave, constantly yelling at her to serve her hand and foot at home and at the restaurant. She is also constantly putting down Sam. In one scene, she tells her that she isn't very pretty or bright.
  • Fiona states that droughts are for poor people and continues to water her lawn despite a ban on that.
  • Various students take Sam's parking spot, with one telling her, "You snooze, you lose."
  • Shelby and others look down on and make fun of Sam.
  • Austin's father is controlling of his son's future, telling him where to go to college and what he'll do with his life (thinking he's doing his son a favor doing so).
  • Fiona won't let Sam go to her school dance.
  • Fiona comments to Rhonda (who's black), "If it isn't little Betty Crocker from the 'hood."
  • Shelby, her friends and Austin's friends are mean and demeaning to Sam who serves them as a waitress at the diner.
  • Seeing Sam in a wedding dress costume, Shelby says, "Love the dress. Hate her."
  • One of Austin's friends quickly puts some unwelcome moves on Shelby after Austin has broken up with her.
  • Despite having made out with him at a dance the night before, Shelby blows off Carter the following day in front of her friends.
  • Fiona opens Sam's college acceptance letter, reads it, hides it from her, and then fakes a new one to her saying that she wasn't accepted to Princeton.
  • One of Sam's stepsisters is mad that Sam hasn't finished her school paper for her yet.
  • Brianna and Gabriella lie to Austin that they're his Cinderella.
  • Brianna and Gabriella lie to Shelby about Sam's intentions toward Austin. They all then put on a mocking skit at a pep rally that identifies Sam as Austin's secret admirer and makes fun of her in front of the entire school. Later, other students laugh at her as she walks down the hall.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There's a brief earthquake moment (the Northridge quake) where young Sam sees her father tell her to stay put and runs off, but is apparently killed in the quake (we don't see the death or funeral).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see Carter with a fake Halloween knife "through" his head that has some fake blood on it.
  • Carter, dressed as Zorro, pulls a fake sword on one of Austin's friends who's mean to him, but the guy grabs the sword and breaks it in half.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You have a spastic brain," "Jeez," "Bite me" (what Bobby the chef says about a fish), "My snoop dizzle look," "You snooze, you lose," "Stalkerazzi," "Geeks," "I'll kick your butt," "That sucks," "Chill out," "Go ahead, girlfriend," "Put your freak on," "Freaking out," "It's over, dude," "Shut your cat face," "Shut up," "Chick," "Hello, kitty," "I gotta bounce" (leave) and "Losers."
  • One of the stepsisters lets out a fart underwater. We see the bubble and the other sister reacts to that, with the first stating that she has a spastic colon (and her sister replies that she has a spastic brain).
  • We briefly see Carter dressed up like a rapper/player, but he only does this because he states he's an actor.
  • We see a girl with multi-color hair.
  • Some miscellaneous girls wear midriff-revealing tops, as does Sam.
  • One of Fiona's daughters, wanting her mom to race back to the diner to prove that Sam isn't there, stomps her foot down onto the gas pedal as Fiona drives, sending them speeding out of control down the road.
  • A girl has a nose ring.
  • Fiona opens Sam's college acceptance letter, reads it, hides it from her, and then fakes a new one to her saying that she wasn't accepted to Princeton.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of comedy-based suspense music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the line "Where the hell" in it.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 damn, 1 hell, 6 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use of "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Sam shows a little cleavage.
  • Brianna and Gabriella show a little cleavage in their bathing suits in the pool.
  • Carter tells Sam that Shelby "wants me so bad."
  • Sam apparently sees Fiona nude when the latter is lying in a tanning bed, but she then has a towel around her when we see her.
  • Shelby and her friends show cleavage in several scenes and/or wear tight, small and/or revealing clothing.
  • We briefly see Sam in a grass skirt and bikini top as she tries on Halloween costumes (and Carter approves of the look).
  • Sam shows a little cleavage and the top of her bare chest in her low-cut wedding dress costume.
  • A student (dressed like a character from "The Matrix") tells Sam to join him in the "mating dance of Zion."
  • We see Carter making out with Shelby at a dance. He later tells Sam, "I told you she wanted me bad."
  • Fiona adjusts her clothed breasts. She also shows some cleavage from time to time in her low-cut top that strains to cover her ample bosom.
  • An old, '50s style poster shows a buxom woman in a bathing suit.
  • A person states that a text message (taken out of context) is "hot and kinky."
  • We see Shelby and her friends in bikinis that show cleavage.
  • We see some cheerleaders in small shorts as the girls are held upside down (and their skirts fall down) during a pep rally.
  • Fiona, Brianna and Gabriella all show some cleavage.
  • We see some football players in the locker room with just towels around them (as Sam enters to talk to Austin).
  • Sam shows some cleavage.
  • Austin and Sam do some passionate kissing.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • There's talk of Sam's father being widowed.
  • There's a brief earthquake moment (the Northridge quake) where young Sam sees her father tell her to stay put and runs off, but is apparently killed in the quake (we don't see the death or funeral).
  • Sam hates living at home with Fiona and her two mean step-sisters, all of whom treat her like dirt.
  • Austin's father is controlling of his son's future, telling him where to go to college and what he'll do with his life (thinking he's doing his son a favor doing so).
  • Rhonda makes a comment that indicates she's divorced at least once.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The advice of never letting the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
  • People who treat others badly.
  • The comment that sometimes fantasy is better than reality.
  • Austin's father is controlling of his son's future, telling him where to go to college and what he'll do with his life (thinking he's doing his son a favor doing so).
  • VIOLENCE
  • A waitress wipes out on her roller-skates and lands hard on the floor.
  • Sam hits a baseball that accidentally strikes Carter on the foot (but he's okay).
  • Fiona runs into Sam (who's on roller-skates at the restaurant) and knocks her to the floor.
  • Brianna and Gabriella are dressed like Siamese cats stitched together in one costume. They end up tumbling down some steps, knocking down two other people along the way.
  • Carter, dressed as Zorro, pulls a fake sword on one of Austin's friends who's mean to him, but the guy grabs the sword and breaks it in half.
  • That guy then chases after Carter until the latter opens a bar counter "door" into the guy's face, knocking him backwards and to the floor.
  • After Carter accidentally drives into a pole, the large sign on top of it wobbles and then comes crashing down on top of the car (no one is hurt).
  • Sam runs head-first into an open locker door.
  • Brianna and Gabriella struggle with each other on a high dive and then fall into the pool.
  • Brianna and Gabriella get into a tussle at a car wash where one pushes the other, one is on the other's shoulders, and they then end up on top of a vehicle going through the automated wash where they're knocked around and then waxed by the gear.
  • Brianna and Gabriella do some cheering routines in the stands, twice hitting a person next to them by careless accident (with a hand and then a foot).
  • Fiona, Brianna and Gabriella all end up falling to the floor in a pile in the diner.



  • Reviewed July 7, 2004 / Posted July 16, 2004

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