By Matthew B. Zeidman
HOLLYWOOD, CA (RushPRnews /Hollywood Today) 1/7/09 â€“ Selena Gomez has been labeled by some pundits as the heir apparent to â€œHannah Montanaâ€ actress Miley Cyrus and her wild success as a sitcom star, singer and all-around entertainer. Her latest foray into the â€˜tween market, however, has her taking the torch from the Disney poster child of yesteryearâ€”Hilary Duff.
â€œAnother Cinderella Story,â€ released recently on Blu-ray and DVD, sees Gomez headline a modified version of the classic story that helped revive the Disney brand in 1950.
Unlike Duffâ€™s 2004 release, â€œA Cinderella Story,â€ which was essentially a modern retelling of the fairytale, this title could best be described as â€œCinderellaâ€ meets â€œStep Up.â€ Unfortunately, the filmmakersâ€™ attempt to add a hip twist to the beloved childrenâ€™s tale works poorly.
The first major crack in the faÃ§ade is Jane Lynch as a middle-aged pop star to whom Gomezâ€™s character is some sort of indentured servant. While Lynchâ€™s two daughters often compete for the attention of the filmâ€™s proverbial Prince Charming (Drew Seeley), it is Lynch, herself, who is Gomezâ€™s chief rival.
Lynch constantly tries to convince an unwilling Seeley, also a singer and dancer, to appear in her latest sultry music video and give her career a boost. The viewer is left wondering why the onstage antics of an apparently successful 40-something resemble those of Britney Spears and if this was intended as some sort of tacit parody of Madonna.
As for the dance component of â€œAnother Cinderella Story,â€ it also seems hollow. Gomez trains in secret behind a looking glass in her schoolâ€™s rehearsal studio, in order to fight for an audition at a highly competitive performing arts college and get closer to Seeley, but this passion on paper is never really reflected by Gomez in her dialogue or stage presence.
The dance numbers, themselves, are impressive enough, as are the filmâ€™s original songs, but itâ€™s nothing that hasnâ€™t been seen in spades over the past decade (e.g., â€œSave the Last Dance,â€ â€œHoney,â€ â€œStep Up,â€ etc.). Additionally, the likeliness that most of the heavy lifting was done by a body double (Gomezâ€™s face is never seen during the more difficult sequences) robs the story of the little magic it had going for it.
While Gomez is a highly charismatic entertainer, â€œAnother Cinderella Storyâ€ is proof that a talented cast cannot save an otherwise-flawed story. The film might do well as bubblegum entertainment for those most fiercely devoted to the popular up-and-comer, but any â€˜tween with even the smallest modicum of taste will be left confounded and insulted by this pop culture mishmash.