WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In the second sequel to the film “A Cinderella Story,” a new girl has been put upon by Gail Van Ravensway (Missi Pyle). Gail’s stepdaughter Katie (Lucy Hale) just wants to be a music star, and she has the talent. Unfortunately, Gail has determined that her own daughter Bev (Megan Park) will be the star. Gail coerces Katie into providing her voice and spirit to help woo the young British hunk Luke Morgan (Freddie Stroma), whose father is looking to sign a new artist.
WHAT I LIKED
This was a cute enough film. It’s made with the audience of the first two films in mind. We’re talking tweens and young teens who have aspirations of becoming a singer. The style skews slightly higher than “Hannah Montana,” but it goes for that same fantasy.
Lucy Hale does a fine job leading the cast, arguably better than Hilary Duff has. Maybe it’s her big, brown puppy dog eyes. She has decent chemistry with Freddie Stroma, although he comes across as rather flat in the film itself. It’s ultimately Hale’s movie, and she does carry it.
“A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song” hinges on the modern update of a classic fairy tale, and I appreciated the fact they didn’t go for the twisted or fractured fairy tale that was run into the ground with the “Shrek” movies. It helps that the general Cinderella story works in many settings and time frames.
Finally, Missi Pyle is funny in most anything she does (even if the whole isn’t that great). It’s good to see that she’s making a career for herself in these direct-to-video films.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
If you aren’t a tween girl, this really isn’t going to catch you. It has all the standard elements, which can be seen as cliche... the indie rock girl, the handsome Brit, the catty stepsister and the annoying younger brother. Of course, much of this connects to the original source material, so it’s forgivable.
Megan Park, who is most known for her role in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” doesn’t play the bitch too well. She just doesn’t have the look to carry it off, and she still seems to be trying too hard. In a strange way, even though this is Lucy Hale’s vehicle, the two girls seem to be cast in the wrong roles.
There’s a decent assortment of special features on this disc, spotlighting the behind the scenes of the film. Most of the featuerttes run in the ten-minute range. “Spotlighting Lucy Hale: Our New Cinderella” looks at the new Cinderella played by Hale from “Pretty Little Liars.” “Meet Prince Charming” takes a look at Freddie Storma. “A Cinderella Story: Make ‘em Move” looks at the choreography of the film.
“Flippin’ on Set” compiles behind-the-scenes footage shot by the cast with the FlipCam. It’s interesting for the fans, but the herky-jerky camera movement is a bit nauseating. Finally, there’s a music video of the film’s song “Bless Myself” with Lucy Hale.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Tween girls and fans of the “A Cinderella Story” series in general.
Watch this clips from "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song"