The Princess Diaries, the original movie, was cute as a bug?s ear when it debuted in 2001. Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) discovers she?s actually next in line to the throne of Genovia, a fictitious country, so she must adjust her street smart ways to the demands of royalty under the tutelage of the ruling monarch, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews). It was hip, it was fresh, and the actors brought just the right amount of joi-de-vivre and 100 kilowatt star power to their respective roles.
As with much of ?things Disney? these days, the polish wasn?t rubbed off the tiara before a sequel was announced. In it, Princess Mia has finished college and must work through the fact that her country (and its queen) will only turn over the throne to her if she?s married. Eschewing a cheap tie-in to ?The Bachelorette,? Mia finds a way to satisfy her country and her heart (everyone... One, Two, Three... Ahhhhhhh).
The movie has a contrived feel to it, unlike the original, though it manages to hit more than enough of the right buttons to appeal to the ?core demographic? of pre-teen and teenaged girls.
The Princess Diaries 2 DVD package contains the movie and some fairly pedestrian (though fun) extras, including a commentary voiceover by director Garry Marshall and Julie Andrews. The commentary is amusing to listen to simply because Marshall is so New York and Andrews is so, well... not.
Other extras include a ?Making a Return Engagement? featurette hosted by Raven (she of ?She?s So Raven? fame), ?The PD2 Makeover? where Hathaway?s stand-in gets the royal makeup treatment, a Kelly Clarkson music video called ?Breakaway,? a four minute bloopers segment, eight deleted scenes with commentary from director Garry Marshall, and last, but not least, there is a ?Find Your Inner Princess? personality quiz that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it?s never too late for guys like me to find that inner princess.
Should you consider buying The Princess Diaries 2 DVD for your long haul trucker friend who enjoys a shot ?n a beer at the end of each day at whatever serves as the local watering hole? Probably not (though the last extra may prove the clincher). Should you think about it for a 12-year-old niece of yours who reads all the Gail Carson Levine books (?Ella Enchanted,? ?The Two Princesses of Bamarre,? and ?Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread,? if you didn?t already know), then yes. It?s not beyond the realm of reason that she could some day become a long haul trucker, but probably not for a few years...
**All kidding aside, the Princess Pajama Ball was a big hit and raised a bunch of cash for Children?s Hospital).