Cinderella’s publicity campaign, in particular, James Corden’s roadside flash mob, has launched many a meme but does Cinderella deserve such bad press? In short, yes. Yes it does.
Written by Niamh Brook
Playing on the now common fairy tale with a twist trope- this version of Cinderella (Camila Cabello) changes the game by having a business-savvy princess who puts her ambitions and dreams before love and royal status. Cinderella follows the same narrative beats as the classic story but with a few new, somewhat pointless additions sprinkled in for good measure.
Being well aware the film was going to be a musical however I was not prepared for just how bizarre the music was going to be. A jukebox musical featuring 13 outrageously misplaced song choices with the likes of Material Girl, Am I Wrong, Somebody to love, Seven Nation Army and Let’s get Loud all crammed in amongst the other 8 songs. Writer and director Kay Cannon, of Pitch Perfect fame, clearly favoured her musical past with more songs than actual plot crammed into the nearly 2 hour run time. The needless addition of random pop songs creates a disconnect from the already week plot, the sheer lack of time spent with (and the lack of chemistry between) Cinderella and her Prince Robert, makes it hard to care about their will they won’t they romance as just as you begin to feel somewhat invested another out of place musical number starts and the plot just stops for 5 minutes.
The direction, choreography and cinematography were all uninspired and almost lazy in places. Scenes feel bland, Cannon seems to think a camera can only face an actor straight on, with the majority of the musical sequences facing the camera as if it was a recording of a school play. It is clear that the film had a pretty large budget, but the film feels cheap with bad CGI and boring editing. I’m also not quite sure how a cast full to the brim of seasoned actors such as Peirce Bronson, James Corden, Idina Menzel and Billy Porter all give painfully bad performances that a genuinely hard to watch in places. James Corden’s portrayal of one of cinderella’s three mice friends is one of his worst performances to date, and the professional actor is just as bad as his friends and co-stars, Romesh Ranganathan and James Acastor.
Credit where credit is somewhat due, Cabello in her debut feature film actually held herself better than a lot of the bigger names. Her quirky, ambitious and sarcastic take of the character, at times, was actually quite charming. British comedian Doc Brown’s small role also packed quite the punch with great original music and a wonderfully charismatic performance from Brown, his few scenes in the film are the highlight of the 120 minutes.
Watching this film was a similar experience to watching 2019’s Cats - an utter train wreck of a film that I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of. A film that was so awful I actually found myself somewhat enjoying the experience, excited to see what weird, cringey turn the film would take next. Cinderella is quite possibly one of the worst films released this year, but if you’re looking for a film that is a genuinely hilarious and strange two-hour musical experience, or if you are a nine-year-old at a sleepover looking for something to put on in the background, Cinderella might well be worth a watch.