Television Council Reviews
aim to provide you with advanced information about an entertainment
offering so that you can be the final arbiter of what you and your
Get new reviews sent to your inbox!
a Girl Wants
By Kellie MacDonald
I really like family movies. Call it old fashioned, but when a movie doesn't
make me blush, cover my ears, or tightly close my eyes, I get pretty excited. I
get even more excited when the film is clean and entertaining. That's
why I'm shouting from the rooftops: What a Girl Wants is a
great family movie! Its optimistic, family-oriented message and clean
delivery have earned this WB flick, The PTC Seal of Approval.
Daphne Reynolds (AMANDA BYNES) longs for a fairy-tale relationship with the
father she's never known. She's had seventeen unanswered birthday wishes, and
has jealously watched enough father-daughter wedding dances to know she is
missing a father's love. Daphne leaves New York City and her free-spirited
mother Libby (KELLY PRESTON), and journeys to London to forge her fantasy
relationship with her high profile politician father, Lord Henry Dashwood (COLIN
FIRTH). In London, Daphne is a fish out of water; she's a free-spirited
American who doesn't quite fit with the propriety of British aristocracy.
Daphne meets Ian (OLIVER JAMES), a struggling musician/ parking valet/ hotel
clerk who proves that her differences are what make her so special and
Although Lord Henry Dashwood didn't know of Daphne's existence, he instantly
accepts her and welcomes her into his home and life. The newly formed
father-daughter relationship is strained by major events and complicated by the
contrast of Daphne's American moxie and the conservative world of British high
society. Lord Henry is a leading candidate in an upcoming election and the
revelation of an American daughter threatens his popularity. Henry's fiancée, Glynnis (ANNA CHANCELLOR), and her jealous daughter, Clarissa (CHRISTINA COLE),
eagerly await the London social season – yet Daphne's penchant for wearing blue
jeans and her rock-and-roll attitude are in deep contrast with their
blue-blooded manners and high-couture fashion sense. Glynnis and Clarissa are
enraged to think that Daphne could threaten their reputations and social
standing. They plot to humiliate Daphne and undermine her efforts to fit into
British aristocracy. And, as much as Daphne desperately desires her father's
acceptance, she ultimately finds it impossible to pretend to be what she is not
– instinctively her vibrant personality shines through.
The content of the film makes it suitable for most viewers over the age of
eight, although young girls and teens will likely compose the majority of this
film's audience. The MPAA rated the film PG for mild language, and the few
tongue-in-cheek remarks will have parents giggling but will go over the head of
the average ten year-old. Sex is implied between Daphne's parents (after all,
babies don't grow in cabbage patches) and there are kisses between Daphne and
Ian and another between Libby and Lord Henry. Violence is limited to a naughty
boy getting pushed into a lake.
I thought this movie was very sweet and benevolent in its intent, content and
delivery. True, Daphne does wear midriff-revealing tank tops and low-rise jeans
but her wardrobe is no more shocking than the fashions found in most American
malls. Besides an intriguing story, What a Girl Wants has a fun
mix of London landmarks, a great soundtrack (including several good performances
by Kelly Preston) and a ton of cool clothes. The movie was obviously a blast to
make because it was a lot of fun to watch.
Besides the clean content, it contains several positive messages specifically
applicable to girls -- such as the critical role fathers' play in the lives of
daughters, the need for supportive parents, and the importance of being true to
who you are. Because she was raised without her father, Daphne longs for the
love and guidance of a father. Once he learns of Daphne's existence, Lord Henry
eagerly welcomes Daphne into his life and is disappointed that he missed out on
her childhood. Another positive message is found as we watch Daphne struggle to
become a proper British lady. In the end she learns she can't fake her
character. She finds that "fitting in" doesn't work; and differences are what
make her special and unique.
I loved this
movie because it contains elements of my childhood's Cinderella dreams: A girl
from a modest background, a journey to a far away place, a castle-like house, a
nasty stepsister, a fancy dress-up ball and diamond tiaras!! I don't want to
give away the ending -- but in this fairy tale, everything does end happily ever
What a Girl Wants is obviously targeted to girls, and the group of
preteens sitting behind me in the theater agreed they all wanted to see it
again. Amanda Bynes is already a huge star to children and teens, but I think
this talented young woman is on the brink of mega stardom. Besides her starring
role in What a Girl Wants, Amanda Bynes stars in the WB television
comedy, What I like About You, she hosts Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show
and co-starred in the 2001 movie, Big Fat Liar. She possesses a
wholesome image that serves as the perfect teen role model -- she's confident,
innocent and intelligent.
I really loved watching What a Girl Wants because the movie is
fun, lighthearted, entertaining and clean! I definitely recommend this movie
for moviegoers over the age of eight and parents may find it appropriate for
even younger viewers. Because it promotes positive messages to teens and does
so cleanly, the Parents Television Council is proud to award What a Girl
Wants, The PTC Seal of Approval.
Family Movie Reviews
The Parents Television Council -
Have you seen this movie?
Comment on this review, Click here!