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What a Girl Wants (2003)

PG | | Comedy, Drama, Family | 4 April 2003 (USA)
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An American teenager learns that her father is a wealthy British politician running for office. Although she is eager to find him, she realizes it could cause a scandal and cost him the election.

Director:

Dennie Gordon
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2,466 ( 1,170)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amanda Bynes ... Daphne Reynolds
Colin Firth ... Henry Dashwood
Kelly Preston ... Libby Reynolds
Eileen Atkins ... Jocelyn Dashwood
Anna Chancellor ... Glynnis Payne
Jonathan Pryce ... Alistair Payne
Oliver James ... Ian Wallace
Christina Cole ... Clarissa Payne
Sylvia Syms ... Princess Charlotte
Soleil McGhee Soleil McGhee ... Young Daphne
Peter Reeves Peter Reeves ... Sir John Dashwood
James Greene ... Percy
Steven Osborne Steven Osborne ... Staff Member
Mike Toller Mike Toller ... Libby's Band Member
Tom Penn Tom Penn ... Libby's Band Member
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Storyline

Loosely based on the 1958 comedy The Reluctant Debutante starring Sandra Dee, the family-friendly comedy What a Girl Wants features popular Nickelodeon teen star Amanda Bynes in her first feature-starring performance after her debut in Big Fat Liar. She plays teenager Daphne Reynolds, who lives in New York City with her musician mother, Libby (Kelly Preston). After she turns 17, Daphne is undecided about her future, so she takes off by herself to London in search of her father. She immediately meets cute musician Ian (Oliver James) before sneaking in to her father's estate to surprise him. He turns out to be Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), a fabulously wealthy aristocrat who doesn't even know that she exists. He had met her mother in Morocco and the two were married in a tribal ceremony. Upon their return to England, she left him and went back to the U.S. without ever revealing that she was pregnant. The uptight Henry is already flustered by his campaign for election, advised by ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Trying to fit in. Born to stand out.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Warner Bros. | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Girl See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,434,964, 6 April 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$35,990,505, 15 June 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,622,111, 6 November 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kelly Preston and Oliver James did all of their singing in the movie. See more »

Goofs

While the issue of Henry disclaiming his seat in the House of Lords while remaining a peer is almost certainly an error, the scenario laid out in the film is possible, if rare. While hereditary peers lost the right to sit in the Lords in 1999, a hereditary peer who also holds a life peerage (and some do exist) has a seat in the Lords by right as a life peer, and is ineligible for election to the Commons. In this rare situation, Henry could have disclaimed the life peerage, giving up his seat in the Lords, while retaining his hereditary peerage. See more »

Quotes

Glynnis Payne: Now Daphne, we don't want to make a scene now, do we?
Libby Reynolds: Take your hand off my daughter or you won't get a scene, you'll get a Broadway Musical!
See more »

Connections

References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

Who Invited You
Written by Allison Robertson, Maya Ford, Brett Anderson, and Torry Castellano (as Torrance Castellano)
Performed by The Donnas
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Charming and charmed
9 June 2003 | by Rogue-32See all my reviews

"What a Girl Wants" is a re-tooling/re-telling of William Douglas Home's "The Reluctant Debutante" with the devastatingly charming Amanda Bynes in the title role; in fact 'charming' is the operative word here -everything about the movie is charming, and charmed.

The casting: impeccably superb. Amanda never hits a false note throughout the proceedings, creating a character who is genuinely believable, lovable and worth cheering for (there was a LOT of clapping in the theatre at various points in the film - I clapped AND whistled, myself); Kelly Preston is radiant as Daphne's mother Libby, a musician who still deeply loves Henry, Daphne's father, but has gone on with her life, and Colin Firth (as Daphne's father, Henry Dashwood) is a revelation here, in that he literally becomes more and more attractive as the tale unfolds - as he becomes more and more who he really is underneath his repressed exterior (the scene where he dons his black leather pants and prances in front of the mirror to the horror of his prim prude of a fiancee is priceless), and Oliver James as musician Ian, Daphne's love interest, makes a memorable splash here as well. Everyone else is perfect in their roles too (even the dog rocks).

The screenplay and direction: completely on the mark. Never gets heavy-handed, contrived, mean-spirited, cloying or tedious, believe it or not. The charm is sustained throughout in a dazzling balance of comedy, heartfelt emotion, conflict and growth, culminating in one of the most satisfying resolutions I've experienced in a movie in a long time.

Occasionally, a movie can have predictable elements without that being a bad thing; sometimes predictable elements can be pleasurable -- you realize what's going to happen but you also realize you're in such capable hands that you actually anticipate the playing-out of the scenes you know will occur. Sometimes it's not WHAT is done in a movie but HOW it's achieved, and WHO is doing the achieving.


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