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 411mania » Movies » Film Reviews

What A Girl Wants Review
Posted by Michael Benjamin on 04.24.2003

"What a Girl Wants"

A Cinematic Evaluation by Ken Anderson

What happens when your neighborhood Bennigan's has three-for-ones on a Wednesday Night??

If you guessed, "You end up in the front row of What a Girl Wants with no recollection of how you got there," then consider yourself today's lucky winner.

From what I've been able to piece together from cell phone conversations, receipts in my jeans pockets, and VERY loose "memory," the evening went a little something like this...

I spent all afternoon in the library finishing a 35 page paper on Chaucer for my Medieval Lit class. I've been working on the damn thing for about a month and a half solid, and now that it was done, I was in the mood to celebrate. Jay meanwhile, having accomplished nothing, though assuring me that "A new episode of Kayfabe Krackdown would be coming soon," also agreed that it was as good a night as any for a couple of internet wrestling celebrities to hit the streets of Tallahassee and party like Dean Malenko had just won the World Title. Our roommate Nick was brought in to complete the third wheel of the unholy trinity.

The original gameplan was to invite some people over, hang out around the apartment until about 11:30 or so, and then head out to the strip to drink ourselves into oblivion. Well, things were going according to plan until about 7:00. I was in the shower and had the stereo on, when I heard a beckoning straight from heaven above...

"Come to Bennigan's with your student ID, and enjoy 3-for-1 top shelf drinks from 7:30 to 10:00."

Well, faster than you could say "Kidney Failure," we were on our way to Bennigan's. With Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" blasting and the windows rolled down, me, Jay, and Nick were on our way towards what was meant to be an hour or two of "pre-party drinking." In theory, when "pre-party drinking" you're NOT supposed to end up in a pre-teen movie curled into a ball on the ground, but that's beside the point.

Well, as it turns out, an old friend from high school was now tending bar at Bennigans. As we ordered our first round of Long Islands, he shook our hands and promised to "make em strong." Apparently his definition of "making 'em strong" consisted of slipping a mixture of battery acid and pure cocaine into an oversized glass of pure grain alcohol. Alright, maybe there was no cocaine or battery acid, but in all seriousness, after I had my first three, I was starting to see stars.

Common sense would seem to dictate that this would be a good time to relax, have a glass of water and some food, watch the Lakers-Kings game, and pace ourselves well before having another round. Well, good old common sense slipped right away when old high-school friend Joe turns to us and apologetically says, "My manager's watching me, I'm gonna have to charge you guys for the next round." As fast as the news of the free first round hit our ears, the next three sugary death drinks were swimming comfortably in our blood streams.

As the official count became 8 Long Islands each within the span of roughly thirty-five minutes, all traces of coherency all but disappeared. The last clear memory I have is of the girl that Nick spent a good fifteen minutes trying to "court." I really think things would have worked out for them except for one small problem... she was a WOODEN CHAIR.

Anyway, from here on out, the night is a complete and total blur.

We left the bar at 9:00 and walked across the street to the Governor's Square movie theatre. We had two hours to kill before we met up with our friends, so we must have decided to catch a movie while we waited.

I'm not sure how these things operate in ___________ (insert your hometown here), but around here, most movies start either at 8:00 or 10:15. Our 9:00 arrival didn't leave us many options. Our two choices: The Core, and What a Girl Wants. Well, we had exactly an hour and fifty-five minutes to meet our friends. Jay managed to muster the composure to ask the elderly, yet surprisingly busty, women in the box office how long The Core was. She wasn't sure, but not only did she believe it to be well over two hours, but she also informed us that, "she heard it sucked."

With the newfound information we learned from the buxom Grandmother, we decided on What a Girl Wants. Upon purchasing our tickets and being warned that "People WOULD look at this funny when entering the theatre," we headed off into teeny bop paradise.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the theatre was the STRANGE crowd a movie like this tends to draw. The usual dozens of cuddly teen couples were there, undoubtedly waiting for the movie to start so that they could sneakily tongue kiss out of the view of their overprotective parents.

Of course, there were also the groups of squawky, overweight, single girls, crooning lines like "Who needs guys!!!" while shoveling handfuls of Snow Caps into each other's blowholes. These are of course also the girls who will cry during ANY movie, without fail. The theatre was ripe with them during the on-campus showing of Free Willy a few months back, and I swear the only thing you must have been able to hear for miles is, "WAHHHHHHHHHHH, LOOKKKK AT THE WHALLLLE JUMPP.... WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, GO HOMEEEEEEEEEE WILLYYYYY, JUMPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP... I HEARRRR PEANUT BUTTER CUPS ARE GOOOOD CALORIESSSSSSS. JUMPPPPPPPPP"

Annnnyway, the most disturbing trend in the movie theatre though appeared to be a handful of middle-aged men scattered throughout dark corners of the theatre, slouching low in their seats and looking awkwardly around.

We decided for whatever idiotic reason to sit in the very front row, despite the fact that seats were open just about anywhere. It was still about twenty minutes before show time, and I took the opportunity to pass out in my seat while waiting for the start of what was sure to be a life-altering film.

The next thing I remember is my roommates waking me up during the opening credits of the movie. I had absolutely NO recollection of where I was at this point, and was actually quite freaked out to open my eyes and see nothing but a gigantic moving picture above me and darkness everywhere else. Jay's ugly mug quickly snapped me back to reality though as I vaguely remembered the large-breasted ticket woman and her questionably foul mouth.

What followed next was one of the absolute STRANGEST movies I've ever seen. My senses were starting to come back to me, and by the halfway point of the movie, I was actually pretty sober, so I know I'm not imaging this. This movie was one of the most bizarre Hollywood films I've ever seen.

What a Girl Wants, stars Amanda Bynes. For those not in the know, Amanda Bynes is a pre-pubescent "actress" with a slightly retarded look to her face. She's most notable for her irritating voice, obnoxious mannerisms, and her uncanny ability to make both movie-goer and television-watcher alike want to reach for the nearest belt and hang themselves from the ceiling fan.

Upon learning that Bynes was the "star" of the movie, it became readily apparent why these lone men were in the far corners of the movie theatre...


This also explained why the 10:30 showing of the new Lizzy McGuire movie was flashing "Sold Out" as well...

Anyway, the plot of "What a Girl Wants" in a nutshell, looks a little something like this...

Amanda Bynes, playing a character so forgettable that I can't even remember her name, lives in America, with her lonely, single mother. Her Mother wasn't always single though, oh no, that would be too convenient and wouldn't lend itself to such a wacky piece of cinematic brilliance.

You see, while vacationing in Egypt, Amanda's Mom meets a strapping young Britt by the name of something or another. They fall madly in love, get married, and eventually (as most on-screen couples seem to) separate in the most dastardly of ways. You see, one day, our British friend just up and left to head back to England in pursuit of a career in politics. Little known to our friend is the fact that his wife was pregnant. *Gulp*.

Amanda thus is born a lowly bastard child, wondering for 16 years just who and where her Father is. As a sweet-sixteen gift, she learns that her Father deserted her Mother a decade and a half ago, and in fact, doesn't even know he has a daughter! SNAAAP!

Anyway, we suddenly cut, for no readily explainable reason, to Amanda Bynes getting off of a plane to England. Her Mother doesn't have much money, and Bynes is only 16 in the movie; thus, it only makes sense to fly her first-class off to London for the summer.

A bad teenage musician working at the hotel becomes the token love interest of Bynes in the movie. This boy seldomly appears in the movie, and seems to serve the sole purpose of masking the bizarre Father-Daughter relationship that begins to blossom between Amanda and her flat-faced Father.

Before you can say "Ready the confirmed Sexual Offenders list," Bynes is on her way to meet her biological father in his lush, London estate.

Amanda sneaks into the gated mansion of her Father, creeps into the house, and surprises her Father with the fact that he's got a 16 year old daughter that he knew nothing of. Our old friend the Father doesn't exactly react like the normal human being would upon discovering such news. He readies a bed for her, but not before looking her up and down like a forbidden piece of salted pork.

Over the course of what seemed to be the next seven hours, Bynes and her Father hang out, have fun, and develop a "relationship." Wacky antics occur, jokes and puns are made, and troubles arise. It doesn't arise in a sweet romantic comedy kind of way though.

It arises in a borderline disgusting manor. Instead of a natural Father-daughter relationship, the two develop a very odd, often repulsive relationship that more closely resembles middle school love.

In one particularly noteworthy scene, he takes her shopping for revealing clothes. After trying on each outfit, she comes out and SEDUCTIVELY DANCES for her Father, who smiles, gawks at her body, and generally makes the audience feel as uncomfortable as possible.

Another scene involves Amanda and her Father swinging together in the park, talking about love, and how romantic it is to be barefoot. This, like many other scenes in the movie, ultimately ends with Bynes "accidentally" falling on top of her Father.

For final proof of this theory, look no further than the placement of Byne's hands when she takes a ride on Poppy's hog as the sun sets in the background.

I'm begging you watch this movie, if for no other reason than to observe this lunacy.

Every time Bynes and her Father are in the same scene, they look each other up and down, gaze longingly into each other's eyes, and go extremely out of their way to initiate intimate, physical contact. It's extremely uncomfortable to sit through. Several times, the Father actually looks into the camera as if to say, "I know I'm aroused, and YOU know that I'm aroused... but does SHE know I'm aroused?"

I won't spoil the movie for you, but I will loosely map out the final scene for you to finish this horrible movie review up...

In theory, the apex of this movie would be the Father reuniting with the Mother and Bynes reuniting with her bad teenage musician "boyfriend". It's not.

The climax of this movie is a strange, strange, STRANGE slowdance scene between Amanda and her Father. They look into each other's eyes, she puts her head on his shoulder, and he rubs his face against hers. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it's bizarre beyond all reasonable explanation.


If you're in the mood to see a non-amusing, slightly disturbing teen movie outlining the romantic relations of an elderly British man and his pubescent daughter, by all means, "What a Girl Wants" is the movie for you.

If you're in the mood to reinforce your position in the community as a certified CHILD MOLESTER, hesitate not, this film is right up your ally.

If you're looking for a good "date" movie, I'd suggest steering WAY clear of this film, unless of course you WANT to end up in bed with your girlfriend and HER FATHER.

All in all, I can't say I'd recommend this movie to anyone based on the film itself, but it's such an overwhelmingly strange movie that I almost suggest watching it for freak-show value alone.

The 411"What a Girl Wants" intends to be an uplifting teenage comedy, but instead comes across as a disturbing combination of "Lolita" and "Happiness." Even the sexual offenders in the back of the theatre appeared to walk out of the movie shaking their heads at the horrid plot. If even the CHILD MOLESTERS think the movie sucked, you know it's not going to be up for many awards come March.
Final Score:  3.0   [ Bad ]  legend


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