Little more than a rejigging of old time classics, My Fair Lady and Cinderella, 'The Princess Diaries' follows Mia, a 15-year-old, socially inept, San Francisco kid. Out of the blue, a grandmother that she never knew existed, Clarisse (Julie Andrews) shows up and makes a startling confession - Mia is the heir to the throne of the Genovia, a small European principality. Mia must undergo a radical change in both looks and attitude to fulfill her royal duties.
Originality was never likely to be the key to 'The Princess Diaries' and it doesn't disappoint in that regard. Cliché after cliché abound throughout the film - that traditional Disney line of 'be just who you really are' is hammered home at every opportunity - with the result that 'The Princess Diaries' seems to exist to defer entertainment in favour of political correctness and moral messaging. Yet, to her credit, Hathaway gives a good account of herself in the central role of the ugly duckling turned swan, striking a chord that may ensure that she has a bright future ahead of her.