Prayer Focus
Movie Review

What a Girl Wants

MPAA Rating: PG for mild language.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

Better than Average
Add to your list?
View your list
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2003
Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth in “What a Girl Wants,” courtesy of Warner Bros. Amanda Bynes courtesy of Warner Bros.

Starring: Amanda Bynes, Colin Firth, Kelly Preston, Jonathan Pryce, Anna Chancellor | Directed by: Dennie Gordon | Produced by: Denise DiNovi, Bill Gerber, Hunt Lowry | Written by: Jenny Bicks, Elizabeth Chandler, William Douglas Home | Distributor: Warner Bros.

Yeah, it’s a teen flic. Yeah, it’s a chick flic. Yeah, I’ll admit it, I liked it.

It is so rare to find films for the MTV generation that are not saturated with offensive material. “What a Girl Wants” is for the most part a touching story that is almost on par with “The Princess Diaries” and “A Walk to Remember”. A remake of the 1958 film “The Reluctant Debutante”, I found the movie both predictable and refreshing. Though the plot line is familiar, it is a cut above most superficial girly-flicks.

Amanda Bynes plays a fun-loving teenager named Daphne Reynolds from Chinatown, NY. She has grown up in a single-parent home. Her mom (Kelly Preston) is a musician and often plays for wedding receptions. And though she appreciates all her mother has tried to do in raising her, Daphne still has two sentimental hopes.

Every birthday, her wish is to meet her father. Every wedding gig, she laments the traditional father/daughter dance. These touching moments work and help draw the audience into the story. As Daphne soon finds out, her long-absent father, a wealthy and prominent political figure, lives in London, England. It isn’t long before our spirited American teen makes the journey to loosen up the local aristocracy.

Amanda Bynes turns in a charming performance as both a fish-out-of-water and a reluctant Cinderella. And Colin Firth does an excellent job as the father who did not realize he had a daughter. Yes, most of the sentiment is contrived. (Naturally while in London, Daphne finds a boyfriend who just happens to be a musician.) My objections are few; however, the outfits sported by Miss Bynes are sadly similiar to the inappropriate attire seen on Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and the like. In addition, the romantic trappings are of course extremely shallow. Overall, though, the movie has that Disney Channel feel to it and would make an excellent alternative to some of the other teen garbage out there. “What a Girl Wants” is a fairly harmless fairy tale with an enchanting story book feel.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I went to the theatre by myself to watch this one. And was not dissapointed. There were about three parts in the movie I would find objectional. But I have definitely heard or seen worse. I really loved how even though her father wasn’t that involved in her life, that she still wanted to work things out with him. And I would advise to you as you are watching this movie to think of how much God loves you. That you are His precious treasure, and how He wouldn’t change you for anything. Think of what the dad says to her, relate it to yourself from God. I almost cried when I watched this movie, and I don’t usually cry at movies. So it was great!! I would watch it again.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Charlene, age 20
Comments from young people
Positive—I saw “What a Girl Wants” on TV with my mom, and we laughed a lot. I thought it is was a really good movie. It is very clean, but had a couple slips in words and that’s it. I would definitely see this movie again!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Moriah Vissia, age 13 (USA)