The Reel Review
Camila Cabello leads an all-star lineup in her movie debut in Amazon’s semi-modern day musical take on the classic fairy tale. In this version, Cinderella is an aspiring fashion designer in an ancient land with modern day conveniences.
This song and dance extravaganza is a bizarre period and modern day mash-up on many levels, from the forgettable, poorly lipsynched, 1980s pop songs, to a setting and story which feels ripped straight from Netflix’s infinitely more charming Bridgerton. Writer/director Kay Cannon (Blockers), who wrote the three Pitch Perfect screenplays, gives us the feel of one of those uninspired network TV “live” stage play events – only worse, with clunky dialogue, sluggish pacing and lots of phoned-in, listless musical numbers. A horribly miscast Cabello, rocking a curious quinceañera dress in the finale, is both underwhelming and uncharismatic as Cinderella.
Idina Menzel (Enchanted) at least sounds great in a throwaway role as the evil stepmother. Billy Porter (Pose), who narrates, makes a mercifully brief appearance as the non-binary fairy godmother. Unmercifully, Pierce Brosnan (Momma Mia), as the king, sings.
Even as background noise, this overlong, nearly two hour film is a dull, mouthbreathing affair. If you must have a Cinderella fix, save your time and watch Disney’s vastly superior 2015 adaptation of Cinderella. Or Disney’s immensely charming 2007 musical Enchanted. Or even 2004’s Ella Enchanted. Just please, God no, not this listless, unnecessary mess.
• The costume Camila Cabello wears in the beginning of the film is the same one Lily James wore in 2015’s Cinderella, just in a different color.
• The Queen song “Somebody to Love” and Minnie Driver both also appear in 2004’s Ella Enchanted.
• The film steals the phrase “huzzah” from the Hulu TV series, The Great.