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Toon Talk: Princess Diaries 2 Review
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
August 12, 2004
Kirby reviews Disney's latest live-action feature, The Princess Diaries.

Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

The Princess Diaries 2:
Royal Engagement

From Genovia With Love
It has been three years since the first chapter of The Princess Diaries, and a lot has happened in the interim: Princess Mia has graduated and has left behind in San Francisco not only her high school sweetheart (now just “a friend?, on tour with his band, no less), her newly married mom (with her newly born baby sister) and (thankfully) Mandy Moore, but also all the trappings of most teen romps, for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement easily lives up to and surpasses the original in degrees of charm and enjoyment. (Click here for the Toon Talk review of the original Princess Diaries.)

Anne Hathaway continues her winning streak after the first film and the recent Ella Enchanted with this Royal Engagement; even more so then previously, she carries herself like a gamine amalgamation of Audrey Hepburn and Lucille Ball, as if those two screen legends collided head-on, with her lithe form as a result. She effortlessly carries the film with an effortless poise, but not above a geekette relapse or two, and avoids lapsing into the dangerously overt commercialism of the recent roles of, sadly, Lindsay Lohan.

(c) Disney

Chapter 2 begins with Mia, at age eighteen, returning to Genovia to claim the crown following the reign of her paternal grandmother, Queen Clarice (Julie Andrews, as luminescent as ever … what else can one say?). But parliamentary politics complicate matters when it is revealed that Mia has a rival for the throne, and the only way she can truly become Queen is if she marries … immediately. Behind all these Machiavellian mechanizations is Viscount Mabrey, played with a dastardly twirl of his moustache by The Lord of the Rings’ John Rhys-Davies, who aspires to rule Genovia through his young nephew, Sir Nicholas (newcomer Chris Pine).

Of course, Nicholas is a “hottie? on his own, which only complicates Mia’s attempts to find, with the aide of Clarice, best friend Lilly (Heather Matarazzo) and the Queen’s ever present aide-de-camp (and secret paramour) Joe (Hector Elizondo), a suitable suitor to fulfill the parliaments’ wishes, not to mention Mia’s own happiness and sense of duty. (Also on hand, in small roles, are a pair of perky lady’s maids that are a hoot themselves, plus a visiting African princess played by That’s So Synergistic Raven.)

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