This was apparently Anne Hathaway's breakout role (and I just learned she has the same birthday as me. She's exactly sixteen years my senior). She plays an invisible and curl-haired teenager named Mia Thermopolis who during the debating class tried to debate on the pros of school uniforms and ended up losing her lunch before saying a single word. The fact that she's in a class where someone would yell, "We're waiting" doesn't help. She lives in a rather colourful house with a wan but loving mom and an adorable cat, and she even has a pole to get from her bedroom to the kitchen. I'm sure those aren't legal but if I build a house and I have the opportunity, where do I sign? Anyway, during another day of trying to get enough money to fix up her Mozerati and dreaming over the popular Josh Bryant, Mia gets invited to a huge mansion and meets her grandmother Clarisse by the always loveable Julie Andrews and she learns that Clarisse is queen of Genovia and Mia's late father was the crown prince, therefore Mia is the next heir to the Genovian throne. At first she wants nothing to do with it at all, but then she thinks she and her friends Lilly and Marcus can benefit from this, the popularity and the opportunities. But all the opportunities as glittery as they seem, or are they just glitter that will get in her eyes?
Now I've got to say that this movie actually knows what it's doing. If it's one thing, it's refreshingly forgiving. It understands that sometimes friends screw up, but it's not always something that will forever damage your friendship. I think one of the most memorable parts of this movie is Larry Miller as Clarisse's personal, uh, masoose or however you spell that to patch up Mia and despite the age difference has a crush. I think this character is even more out-of-this-world than his character Jindraike in Max Keeble. One of my favourite elements as well though, was the transition of becoming a princess this way. Where I grow up, nobody is as uncool and unprepared to be royal as Mia but I think we all can be just a tiny bit. I know I'd be a bit clumsy if I ever had to have dinner with a ton of world leaders or supermodels. Good thing here, the antics are funny instead of downright embarrassing and uncomfortable. For instance, there's a scene where Mia has to somehow fix a statue, and the way she does so I didn't see coming and I laughed out loud at the thought of ever seeing it in real life. Julie Andrews also steals every scene she's in, showing a clear sense of politeness yet occasional disgust, or being in deep thought, or doing her best and prevailing to make someone feel welcome around her. Anne Hathaway does this as well.
The end result of the film, though sometimes predictable in its storyline, is not predictable in the slightest of its slapstick humour and charmed me enough to schedule another viewing.