What a Girl Wants

Released 2003


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Movie Summary

Dennie Gordon
What a Girl Wants is a 2003 comedy directed by Dennie Gordon. It is a modern adaptation of the 1958 film entitled The Reluctant Debutante. The one thing that Daphne Reynolds (Amanda Bynes) wants the most is to finally meet her long-lost father, Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth). Before Daphne was born, her mother Libby (Kelly Preston) left Henry when she felt that she was not accepted in his aristocratic world. Without telling her mother, Daphne flies to London and introduces herself to him during a surprise visit to his mansion. Henry is understandably shocked, but he embraces Daphne as his daughter and lets her stay in his home. As Daphne starts to form a relationship with Henry, she faces the ire of his fiance Glynnis (Anna Chancellor) and her daughter Clarissa (Christina Cole), along with Henry's aide Alistair Payne (Jonathan Pryce), who thinks she will ruin Henry's career as a politician. While trying to thwart schemes of people who are determined to see her fail, Daphne inserts her carefree, exuberant personality into Britain's stuffy, upper-class society.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 60

    The New York Times Dave Kehr

    Minnelli's comedy had its serious underpinnings: by the end of the film, a girl had become a woman. By the end of Ms. Gordon's film, the girl is still a girl, but a girl with much ...

  • 60

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Works well enough. It has a decided plus in its appealing young star, Amanda Bynes, last seen opposite Frankie Muniz in "Big Fat Liar."

  • 50

    Variety Todd McCarthy

    It feels much more like a shameless reshuffle of "The Princess Diaries."

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Comedy, Drama