Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song(DVD)
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It’s a modern and enchanting twist on an enduring classic! Katie (Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars) dreams of being a recording artist but is continually thwarted by her cruel stepmother (Missi Pyle) and stepsister (Megan Park of The Secret Life of the American Teenager). When Katie falls hard for Luke (Freddie Stroma), the new boy at her Performing Arts school, she tries to get his attention with her singing. But when her stepsister takes credit for Katie’s amazing voice and Luke falls for the wrong girl, Katie must learn to stand up for her dreams before her stepmother forces Katie to sing Luke into the arms of her wicked stepsister.
The teen music scene meets classic fairy tale in this modern telling of Cinderella. The story is familiar enough: stepdaughter Katie (Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars) is a virtual indentured servant for her mean stepmother Gail (Missi Pyle), cleaning the house and catering to her every need and whim, as well as those of daughter Bev (Megan Park of The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and son Victor (Matthew Lintz). When a famous music producer enrolls his son Luke (Freddie Stroma) at the arts school where Katie's mom is the dean and Katie and Bev study, there's a definite attraction between Katie and Luke. Unfortunately, Gail comes up with a plan to propel Bev into superstardom, which destroys any chance of a relationship between Katie and Luke, along with Katie's chances of realizing her dream of becoming a recording artist. What Gail doesn't count on is Katie's resourcefulness, the tendency of the oppressed to band together, and the emotional power of a song. What's bothersome about this film is that most of the main characters are one-dimensional and unlikable. Gail is a mean-spirited woman who drinks too much, mistreats her stepdaughter, has unreasonable expectations for her daughter, and basically ignores her bright and totally out-of-control son. Bev is a pretty girl who lacks a sense of morality and the gumption to stand up for herself, and Victor is a self-absorbed terror who acts without consideration for others or any fear of negative consequences. Katie is more likable as the stoical teen who endures a bad situation while developing her musical talent and trying hard to be a good friend, but viewers will find her inability to assert herself quite frustrating. Luke is a similarly likable, talented young musician whose aspirations are thwarted by his father's expectations. Gail, Bev, and Victor all get at least a glimpse of the errors of their ways in this film, but while Victor's enlightenment is somewhat believable, Bev's flash of insecurity and compassion for Katie is unconvincing and short-lived, and Gail's momentary delusion of humanity is quickly negated by the (off-screen) consumption of a bottle of wine. The musical numbers are great in this film and there's a Bollywood dance scene that's well choreographed and quite fun, but in the end, that just isn't enough to offset the stereotypical, shallow characters. --Tami Horiuchi
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 0.6 x 5.4 x 7.6 inches; 2.44 Ounces
- Item model number : WHV1000208028DVD
- Director : Damon Santostefano
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 25 minutes
- Release date : September 6, 2011
- Actors : Lucy Hale, Freddie Stroma, Jessalyn Wanlim, Missi Pyle, Megan Park
- Producers : Dylan Sellers, Michelle Johnston, Clifford Werber
- Studio : WarnerBrothers
- ASIN : B005EJIG62
- Writers : Erik Patterson, Jessica Scott
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #82,013 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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There are scenes that seem to go on for too long and are totally unnecessary to the story line like the dance scene where they have a 'dance battle'. The singing scenes also seem longer than they need to be, giving an awkward atmosphere.
Overall, the movie is a great addition to the 'Cinderella Story' franchise. It show unexpected love in unconditional ways and gives a good pedestal to showcase the actors' talents. If you just want a cliche love story with some singing and dancing thrown in, this is a good movie to rent.
Poor 17-year-old Katie Gibbs (Hale), reduced to playing scullery maid to her cruel step-mother and her atrocious children. And since the step-mom, Gail Van Ravensway (Missi Pyle), is also dean to the Wellesley Academy of the Arts, the prestigious private school Katie attends, there's no respite to our girl's misery.
Katie is an aspiring singer with a gorgeous voice and a knack for songwriting. See her perk up when a renowned British record producer shows up at school and assigns his teenaged son, Luke (Freddie Stroma), with producing (and scouting) the school's semester showcase. The mean dean is also ecstatic. She sees it as a chance for her daughter Bev (Megan Park) to land a recording contract. But here's the rub: Bev cannot sing. She sounds like cats in a room full of rocking chairs. The dean arrives at a brilliant idea: Why not have Katie lay down the vocal tracks and have Bev take credit? An outraged Katie plays along under threats of being sent to foster care and the loss of her come-of-age inheritance.
Should you ever wonder what it'd be like were a movie to fuse elements of Cinderella and Cyrano de Bergerac, look no further than here. Yes, it's ridiculously over-the-top, thanks to an unapologetically hammy script and that horrible brat (Matthew Lintz) and that in-house guru (Manu Narayan) and, mostly, to a mugging Missi Pyle. Maybe you'll find her hilarious. Good for you, then. To me, Pyle's super-exaggerated take renders her character a buffoonish cartoon, and, for that, the movie loses points with me. Next to what Pyle has wrought, Park's vacuous step-sister seems the epitome of groundedness.
There are good things that counter the bad bits. Some of the comedy works, like the recurring gag where bands keep auditioning to Luke in the men's restroom. Most importantly, Hale and Stroma are sweet together and there seem to be sparks. Hale's screen presence alone makes this movie watchable. But the songs are also listenable, specifically the original tracks performed by Hale and by Stroma. Stroma's "Knockin" has got this upbeat, tap-your-toe groove. His all-too-fleeting colab scene of "Possibilities" is a highlight. Hale, for her part, has got this strong, marvelous singing voice. She does well with a series of snazzy, club-type jams, but she shines most when she eases back on a stripped-down acoustical song like "Extra Ordinary." Note that you'll have to jump on YouTube to get the full version because you only get to hear an inadequate snippet in the film. Actually, for proper enjoyment, you'll probably have to access YouTube for the full tracks. Or, I guess, buy the soundtrack. Yeah, you should buy the soundtrack. 3 or 3.5 out of 5 stars for this one.
If you could spare a few more cents, maybe you'll instead want to pick up A Cinderella Story / Another Cinderella Story / A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song (Triple Feature) since it's got all three A Cinderella Story movies.
Top reviews from other countries
It shows Lucy Hale at her best.