Tangled (2010)

A voluminous fairy tale flick with lots to note: the plot is full of songs, action, and comedy (often tangled together–there’s plenty of slapstick), the damsel-in-distress motif is turned (hit) on its head (with a frying pan), and the uniquely chilling villain (an emotionally manipulative parent) adds some poignancy to the coming-of-age arc. The romance is sweet (“You were my new dream”) but also, she just turned 18 and has never seen the world so the power dynamic there is a bit offputting.

Saved! (2004)

When a girl attending a Christian high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her. (IMDb)
A touching comedy about Christianity that offers up plenty of hilarious satire amidst a smart screenplay full of more serious subversive moments (i.e. a teacher’s voiceover quoting, “Blessed are you when people insult you” as pregnant teen Mary, ostracized by her school, reads an insult on a bathroom stall) and ironic Christian music overlays. The wonderful characters don’t quite reach their potential in a story that feels a bit too brief, but the provoking messages still resonate.
7/10 (Good)

The Princess Diaries (2001)

Mia Thermopolis has just found out that she is the heir apparent to the throne of Genovia. With her friends Lilly and Michael Moscovitz in tow, she tries to navigate through the rest of her 16th year. (IMDb)
The “nerdy girl becomes a princess” premise is a solid foundation for your typical but perfectly decent comedic family film with touches of drama and a heart warming conclusion (especially solid given Hathaway’s splendid turn as the lovably odd Mia), but the zany inconsequential characters (the melancholic neighbour, the bumbling police officers) and offbeat one-liners here give this film a sharp wit that raises it above others of its kind. A sweet and funny film that earns repeated viewings.
7/10 (Good)