Mia, now ready to assume her role as princess of Genovia, has moved into the Royal Palace with her beautiful, wise grandmother Queen Clarisse. However, she soon learns her days as a princess are numbered--Mia's got to lose the tiara and immediately take the crown herself. As if getting ready to rule wasn't enough, the stakes for Mia have never been higher--with Genovian law stating that princesses must be married before being crowned, Mia's in for a parade of suitors who'd all like to be her king.
In the cardboard kingdom of Genovia, the setting for the new feature-length fairy tale "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," the streets are as scrubbed of dirt and personality as a Disney theme park. A mythic European country where everyone speaks accented English by way of Britain, France and Brooklyn, Genovia is the adopted home of Princess Mia (Anne Hathaway), a one-time San Francisco teenager-turned-old-world pretender. Unlike Pinocchio, Mia doesn't hang her wish on just any star; she hangs it on the movie-made promise that every girl can find her inner princess and, like, you know, rule. Directed by Garry Marshall, who's been selling wish-fulfillment fantasies for years, most notably in "Pretty Woman," and written by Shonda Rhimes, "The Princess Diaries 2" combines a classic storybook scenario, in which the former ugly duckling refines her swan standing, with the usual self-help uplift. This time around, the princess who would be queen learns what the rest of us know already: happy movie endings generally come to those women who eat their independence and, in time, a wedding cake too. — Manohla Dargis
2004-08-11 | Manohla Dargis | Read the New York Times Review of The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement