Despite quality talent like Idina Menzel and Billy Porter, this would-be modern take on Cinderella is a distinctly mixed bag
“The whole thing is weird and antiquated”
From the moment that this version of Cinderella opens with a Janet Jackson/Des’ree medley (someone has a wicked sense of humour there), it’s clear that this isn’t the fairytale as we know it. Problem is, a lot of people have executed the same idea recently and writer/director Kay Cannon doesn’t quite have enough to make it stand out in the right way.
It is caught awkwardly between in its traditional, deeply misogynistic ‘ye olde village/palace’ setting and an otherwise determinedly modern aesthetic. And with paper-thin characterisation being the word of the day, the film singularly fails to convince as a credible feminist remaking, further hampered by poor pacing and producer James Corden’s decision to cast himself (albeit as a rat).
It could have been so much better, especially with its raucously anachronistic musical leaninga. And that jukebox musical approach is at its best when it borrows a touch from Moulin Rouge’s brand of mashup (‘Whatta Man’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’ combine to great effect), it’s just a shame the musical sequence are so poorly integrated.
And a cast that includes green talent like Camila Cabello (Cinderella) and Nicholas Galitzine (Prince Robert), and old hands like Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver and Pierce Brosnan can’t elevate dialogue that clunks heavily throughout. One to watch after several glasses of eggnog.