When they were young blue blood Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth) and
free spirit Libby Reynolds (Kelly Preston) met and fell in love,
of course fate and Henry’s “evil” advisor saw to it that their
love didn’t last, and the couple were torn apart. Unbeknownst
to Henry, of course, Libby was pregnant, I’m sure you can see
where this is going. Needless to say the baby grows up to be
feisty out spoken and very American Daphne (Amanda Bynes) who
has a keen desire to finally meet her British politico father.
And so What a Girl Wants
begins as Daphne travels across the pond to England to meet her
long lost father, fall in love, and generally cause havoc
wherever she goes.
is your typical fish out of water romantic teen comedy; and in
that respect it works. The cast is talented a likable,
headlined by Bynes who plays Daphne with suitable aplomb,
launching herself into slapstick physical comedy with gusto.
She does seem to be having fun with the role and it certainly
shows up on screen, her interactions with British High Society
are most amusing, if not dreadfully cliché.
Colin Firth goes through the motions playing the stiff upper lip
Henry Dashwood, a character that has become his stock in trade
since Bridget Jones Diary.
Bynes and Firth do have a good chemistry together as father and
daughter, it is just a shame we also have to contend with a
young love plot between Daphne and Ian “cool British rebel
musician with blue blood guy” Wallace (Oliver James) which is
more forced than romantic. You get the impression that the
romantic subplot was included to appease the teen audience and
to cast the inevitable parallel between Daphne’s mother and
father. Unfortunately Preston is forgettable as Daphnes “hippy”
mother Libby, of all the cast her performance comes off the most
phoned in – which may be a result of her character being quite
underdeveloped – though she is necessary for the unavoidable
is loaded with special features including 2 audio commentaries,
one with star Amanda Byrnes and the other with Director Dennie
Gordon and writers Elizabeth Chandler and Jenny Bicks. Also
included is a making of featurette, additional scenes and the
obligatory trailer; quite a solid package.
What a Girl Wants is
by the numbers stuff, and will most likely appeal to a teen girl
audience, and an older female audience who will be watching, no
doubt, for Colin Firth.