‘Cinderella’ review: Amazon and James Corden made a #Girlboss princess flick only a ravenous capitalist could love
Director: Kay Cannon. With: Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Nicholas Galitzine, Billy Porter, Pierce Brosnan. PG, 115 min.
Amazon’s new take on an old perennial fairy tale is said to have sprung from the imagination of a certain James Corden. That is, if you consider the words “Cinderella, but she’s a girlfriend” plump enough to be considered an original concept. He certainly didn’t have the idea of casting a hot pop star in mind (in this case, Camila Cabello) – not when the 1997 Disney adaptation already starred Brandy and Whitney Houston. Nor is this the first Cinderella reimagined with Minnie Driver, a brave and modernized heroine and Queen’s track “Somebody to Love”. It will be the years 2004 Ella, delighted, with Anne Hathaway. And, despite this movie positioning Cinderella as an aspiring fashion designer, is there a reason her dresses look like copyrighted Halloween costumes based on the 2015 Disney adaptation? with Lily James? At least Andrew Lloyd Webber and Emerald Fennell’s West End musical had the initiative to give it a punk makeover.
In the end, all that sets this Cinderella apart from her predecessors is a voracious appetite for capitalism. As her mean mother-in-law (Idina Menzel) worries about finding a successful partner for her daughters – here she’s more of the Mrs. Bennet type than anything downright mean – Cinderella works in the basement, throwing tulles of different colors on top of each other and call them dresses. And when the handsome, temperamental prince of the kingdom (Nicholas Galitzine) falls madly in love with her and throws a ball to win her hand, poor Cinderella must choose between work and love. It’s a centuries-old fairy tale restructured to have the same plot as your average Hallmark Christmas movie.
Cinderella sorely lacking feminist references. Its protagonist recognizes the limits of her fairytale world – it is verboten for women to own businesses – but only works to improve her own life. If it can attract foreign customers to the ball and secure its own financial future, who needs solidarity or fraternity? There’s even something revealing about the way Cinderella never forms a bond with the film’s other #YesSheCan brand company, Princess Gwen (our ladiesTallulah Greive). She has her eyes riveted on the throne, but the path has been blocked by the existence of a male brother. These two determined women cross paths without ever thinking of joining forces – focused solely on their own goals and desires. It’s myopic ‘girlboss’ ideology to the end, and it floods every inch of this film with calculated cynicism – which perhaps isn’t all that surprising considering its writer-director, Kay Cannon, adapted the 2014 memoir originally. the term in a short-lived Netflix series.
The idea of playing Billy Porter in the role of Fab G, a fairy godfather and godmother without gender? Wonderful, if the actor’s role went beyond pumping Cinderella with a few “Yasss, future Queen, yasss!” slogans. Cabello herself is perfectly capable of delivering the upbeat, upbeat princess routine – and has a soft, poppy voice to match – but Cannon’s film doesn’t really know what to do with a pop star whose public image consists of ‘little more than a few eye-catching singles and an obsession with her love life. There are a handful of original songs, all of which seem loosely in the vein of Cabello’s past work. There is also a valuable opportunity for Menzel – to Bad and Frozen glory – on the belt as we all know it can. But lacking something truly memorable, the film then adds a few largely absurd jukebox tracks (a mix of “Whatta Man” and “Seven Nation Army”? Sure.)
Corden, of course, delivers his usual shtick as one of Cinderella’s rodent companions, all of whom here have inexplicably oversized and misshapen heads. In fact, the only actors who don’t seem happy to settle into autopilot are the movie’s king and queen, Pierce Brosnan and Minnie Driver – the former sporting magnificent musketeers. They are detached from the calculated posture around them, just two famous people having fun in silly costumes. Having said that, I hope they will give a pass when it comes time to make the version of The Sleeping Beauty where she “leans” by investing in Bitcoin before falling into an eternal sleep.