Jennifer Coolidge Cinderella Story: A Cinderella Story is a 2004 American romantic comedy film starring Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Jennifer Coolidge, and Regina King. It was directed by Mark Rosman and written by Leigh Dunlap. The film’s narrative is a reworking of the famous fairy tale Cinderella. It centers on two internet pen pals who plan to meet in person at their high school’s Halloween ball.
The movie premiered on July 16, 2004. Despite receiving terrible reviews from critics, the picture was a box office triumph, generating $70 million on a budget of $19 million and inspiring many direct-to-video sequels. It has grown into a cult classic over time.
Cinderella Story Plot
Samantha “Sam” Montgomery, age seventeen, is a waitress at a diner in the San Fernando Valley owned by her arrogant and greedy stepmother, Fiona. Sam’s widower father, Hal Montgomery, passed away in the 1994 Northridge earthquake without an apparent will eight years before, leaving Fiona possession of the diner and the family inheritance.
The valley is experiencing a severe drought. Sam is attempting to save money to attend the college of her dreams, Princeton, but is frequently harassed by her stepfamily, Fiona, and her twin children, Brianna and Gabriella. Fiona withholds Sam’s wages and utilizes her inheritance to lavish herself and her twins with pleasures. Similarly, Fiona refuses to conserve water amid the current drought.
Sam also has difficulty fitting in at North Valley High School, where she is bullied by the popular clique, including head cheerleader Shelby Cummings and her gang. Sam confides in her online pen pal “Nomad,” who shares her aspiration to attend Princeton and major in creative writing.
She also finds solace in her best friend, Carter Farrell, and the personnel at the diner, including the manager, a waitress, and the cook. Unbeknownst to Sam, “Nomad’s” true identity is the quarterback of the school’s football team, The Fighting Frogs, and Shelby’s boyfriend, Austin Ames. Andy has arranged for his son to receive a football scholarship to the University of Southern California.
At the Halloween dance, “Nomad” and Sam plan to meet in the center of the dance floor. Shelby refuses to accept this and believes they are together despite Austin’s attempts to end their relationship. Sam requests the night off to attend the dance, but Fiona denies his request.
Sam hears the dance as “Cinderella” despite having a heart-to-heart with Carter and the diner staff, wearing a white masquerade mask and a bridal dress provided by Rhonda. Austin attends in his Prince Charming costume.
Cinderella Story Cast
- Hilary Duff as Samantha “Sam” Montgomery
- J. D. Pardo as Ryan Hanson
- Hannah Robinson as young Sam
- Chad Michael Murray as Austin Ames
- Erica Hubbard as Madison
- Jennifer Coolidge as Fiona
- Regina King as Rhonda
- Simon Helberg as Terry
- Dan Byrd as Carter Farrell
- Brad Bufanda as David
- Madeline Zima as Brianna
- Carlie Westerman as young Brianna
- Andrea Avery as Gabriella
- Lilli Babb as young Gabriella
- Julie Gonzalo as Shelby Cummings
- Whip Hubley as Harold “Hal” Montgomery
- Kady Cole as Caitlyn
Cinderella Story Production
Clifford Werber envisioned a contemporary retelling of the Cinderella tale owing to its enduring appeal as “the ultimate wish-fulfillment fantasy” with “an underlying message of empowerment.”
Cinderella Story Release
On July 10, 2004, A Cinderella Story debuted at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It debuted in theatres alongside another princess- or fantasy-themed products, such as The Prince & Me (2004), Ella Enchanted (2004), and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2005). (2004).
The film has a 12 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 104 reviews, with an average rating of 3.6/10. The critical consensus on the website reads, “An uninspired, bland update of the traditional fairy tale.”
The film has a weighted average score of 25 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 30 critics, indicating “generally negative reviews.” On a scale from A+ to F, CinemaScore respondents gave the picture an average grade of A.
Roger Ebert stated that A Cinderella Story “is a lousy, stupid film, but Warner Bros. is spending a fortune to convince [young people] to watch it and recommend it.” Other critics criticized the premise as “simple, sloppy storytelling” and “a tedious retread of the old girl-meets-boy trope.”