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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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3,908 ( 441)
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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

When Henry Dashwood is looking through the photo album of Daphne's childhood, there are actual pictures of Amanda Bynes when she was younger. See more »

Goofs

When Ian first comes to Dashwood Manor and is arguing with the security guard about having an appointment to see Daphne, the size of the gap in between 2 of the gate's metal bars changes from wide during shots of Ian speaking to very, very thin during shots of the guard speaking. See more »

Quotes

Glynnis Payne: Until then we have to keep up appearances. Look what happened to Olivia Nixon when she went to China last summer.
Clarissa: Who's Olivia Nixon?
Glynnis Payne: Exactly.
See more »

Connections

References Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Have I Told You Lately
Written by Van Morrison
Performed by Matt Acheson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Trailers stank, Movie shines
5 April 2003 | by CaptHayfeverSee all my reviews

I went into the theater today expecting a good movie. I was wrong. Why was I wrong? Because this was a GREAT movie!!!

The trailers made this film look INSANELY cheesy. Since I know from experience that trailers are highly inaccurate, I was expecting a PARTIALLY cheesy flick. But what I saw had almost no cheese to it at all. What A Girl Wants, despite its unfortunate title, is what a LOT of people want, combining drama, comedy, romance, and self-discovery in an hour and 45 minutes of enjoyment.

I didn't say insight, mind you, I said self-discovery. This is purely a narrative, not a deep thought movie, and it wouldn't have worked any other way. Kudos to Dennie Gordon for not trying to accent a theme that we're already familiar with, rather, she just throws it into the story, almost casually, so that we see the message of individuality but aren't repulsed by an overly blatant moral.

Many of this film's detractors say that it's a rip of The Princess Diaries. Not true. Yes, it's an adaptation, but it's based on "The Reluctant Debutante", which was around for DECADES before Diaries was even conceived. Besides, while it is a little formulaic, there are a few twists.

Many say it portrays inaccurate American/British stereotypes. Not true. Daphne and her mother are CLEARLY presented to be NOTHING like the average American, and Lord Dashwood only behaves so properly because of his political position.

Amanda Bynes as Daphne Reynolds finally gets a chance to show of her incredible dramatic skills. (Moody's Point had too much of a satirical tone to properly show this.) Bynes has her glory moments of comedy alongside her touching moments as the girl who wants to understand who she is.

Colin Firth as Henry Dashwood. Come on, who didn't already know Firth kicks butt? He is the center of every scene Bynes isn't in, and he carries that weight well.

Eileen Atkins as Lady Dashwood does a tremendous job with her supporting role, who is far more crucial to the plot than anyone expected.

Oliver James handles his theatrical debut well, showing much more emotion than the previews indicated. Libby Reynolds isn't a fully round character, but that's the script's fault, not Kelly Preston's. Both are capable singers, and considering that Bynes's one major performance flaw is lack of musical ability, I'm glad these two sang instead of her.

In fact, basically the entire cast here was superb.

See it, you'll be glad you did. Fine entertainment for almost everybody.


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