CoachKaye42’s review published on Letterboxd:
Cinderella (2021) is a musical film based on the classic fairy tale of the same name by Charles Perrault. The film was written and directed by Kay Cannon, and stars Camila Cabello as the titular Cinderella, an orphaned girl with an evil stepmother, who has big dreams and with the help of her Fabulous Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true. Listen, I love musicals, and I have enjoyed many of the various iterations of Cinderella. This isn't a bad movie simply because they turned Cinderella into a musical. That's been done plenty of times before, and to (mostly) great success. No, the reason this movie is bad is for all of its ambitions, it is a damn near complete misfire. If you really need a scapegoat to direct all of your anger, you can thank James fucking Cordon, who produced this disaster and came up with the idea to "reimagine" one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time. This movie is proof positive that sometimes you really shouldn't fix what isn't broken. In the case of Cinderella, arguably the best reimagining one could ask for is the 1998 film Ever After, and Cinderella (2021) doesn't even come close. This movie's biggest problem is that it has no idea what it wants to be. Was this supposed to be a comedy, parodying the beats of the original fairy tale, or were we supposed to take this seriously? As a musical, this is just a straight up failure. For those who may not know, Kay Cannon is best known for her work penning the Pitch Perfect trilogy. In those films, it makes sense to take the jukebox musical approach, as we're entering the world of acapella competition. Here, there's no justification, and things get extra complicated once you start including original songs written specifically for the film. Speaking of which, is that the only reason why Camila Cabello was cast as the lead, even though she's never acted on screen before? I get it, everyone has to start somewhere, but I'm sorry, this ain't it. She's not bad, I can tell she's trying her best, I just didn't find her believable in the role. There are a few highlights worth mentioning. Nicholas Galitzine's Prince Robert might be, if not the best, at least the most interesting version of what's usually a nothing character in the original narrative. Casting Idina Menzel as the "evil" stepmother is actually pretty inspired, and I'm fine with letting her belt it out a few times throughout the film. But on the whole, I cannot recommend seeing this movie unless you're a completionist, who must watch every single musical film/TV series released in 2021.
P.S., this is me being nice. You want a real scathing takedown? Check out my co-founder Joshua Lozano's review over on renegadepopculture.com, and stay tuned for the next Renegade Marquee podcast!