The witless sequel to the enjoyable Princess Diaries (2001) knows its intended audience—how else to explain the interminable sequence in which the future queen of Genovia, Princeton grad Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), holds a slumber party for assorted young girls of various nationalities? The original PD‘s charm lay in the rags-to-riches family romance, Hathaway’s gamine gawkiness, and a constant stream of comic business. Now that Mia’s a royal, it’s considerably harder to sympathize with the very rich and undemocratically appointed. (Trenchant election-year commentary: Check!) Grandmother Julie Andrews is stepping down from the throne, and the Genovian constitution or whatever says that only married females may rule the country. Mia gets quickly engaged to an honorable Brit (Callum Blue), though her heart says, “Go for that vaguely Pitt-ian interloper (Chris Pine), even though his uncle wants to usurp the throne for him.” Scenes end abruptly, laughs are as rare as yetis, and the overarching question seems to be: Can we turn this into a franchise?
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