Bad Moviethon #10 – A Cinderella Story (2004)


…in which I examine if bad movies really deserve their woeful rotten tomatoes score.

A Cinderella Story

IMDB | 2004


Sam (Hilary Duff), a teenager in California, is obliged to work as a janitor and dishwasher in the diner of her stepmother (Jennifer Coolidge). After a cell phone mix-up, Sam begins an anonymous text-messaging and e-mail relationship with a boy. They agree to meet at a school dance, but when Sam finds out that her secret pen pal is none other than Austin Ames (Chad Michael Murray), the cutest boy in school, she panics and looks for a way to make herself cooler.

Review Excerpts:

You can say of this movie, truly, that they took the most famous tale in the world and broke it.

Let me get quickly to the word that best describes this movie. It is horrible.


Technically, I refuse to call this a bad movie because it’s a classic, but it has a rating of 11% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On behalf of Chad Michael Murray’s astounding acting ability, I am offended. Heck, Hilary Duff doesn’t deserve that either.

Anyway, I loved this movie when I was a kid. I learnt how to make DVDs with this movie. Actually, I have a VCD with this movie on it. If you don’t know what a VCD is, you haven’t lived. This movie basically set me up for a life where I could use computer software without getting confused. I will cherish it forever. 

Plot wise, this movie is uh, well, I’ll give you a brief recap.


The plot of this movie is basically – Chad Michael Murray and Hilary Duff have been texting and Iming each other but they don’t know what they look like. In real life, he’s the star quarterback and popular guy and she works at the diner her Dad owned before he died, has an awful stepmother and two terrible stepsisters.

They agree to meet on Halloween at a dance. Sam is unable to go until the last last minute when she turns up as Cinderella, complete with a face mask that does little to disguise who she is.

Despite that Austin has no idea who she is. Once it hits midnight, she runs back to the diner and conveniently drops her cellphone.

In true creeper fashion, Austin puts up posters requesting that people call him if they know anything about Cinderella. Cue lots of girls trying to make out likd they’re Cinderella just to get with Austin.

Eventually, Sam’s sisters find out, tell Austin’s ex-girlfriend, and they group together to humiliate her and Austin in front of the entire school by reading their emails out loud and revealing that Sam is Cinderella. Shock horror, the star quarterback is secretly in love with diner girl!

By the way, we keep hearing about a drought throughout the movie….

Classic line

…so…fast forward to the end and Austin skips out on The Biggest Game Of His Life™ to stop Sam from leaving and the skies open and it rains like it’s never rained before.

They go to Princeton together and live happily ever after.


I see three main reasons why it got an 11%

1. The script sounds like it was written by someone who had never stepped foot in a high school.

2. The acting leaves a lot to be desired. Hilary is on point (let’s face it, she’s always on point) and Chad Michael Murray is good looking enough for me to overlook any less than stellar performance (plus his brooding pensive look is also on point), but the rest of them kind of sucked.

3. They used a terrible cover of a Jesse McCartney song, unless that was him singing and there’s something wrong with my ears.

4. Teenage love ending the drought? Really? Seriously? Cringe alert.

5. Somehow Sam manages to work before school and after school and whenever her stepmother requires it and still be a straight A student. I’m not saying that’s impossible, but it’s a stretch.

6. The annoying best friend was annoying.

7. It’s a comedy, but it’s more of a laugh at the movie than laugh with the movie kinda deal.

8. Most of the movie doesn’t make any real sense. The premise is that Austin ends up looking for Sam, but she didn’t disguise her voice and her eyes were all that was covered. The next time he sees her, he should recognise her. If he had selective hearing, I’d get it, but he’s the star quarterback with perfect grades, perfect cheekbone structure and perfect eyesight. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t know it was her.

9. She dropped her cellphone. I get it, that’s the modern equivalent of leaving your shoe behind, but once again, all Austin had to do was call a number on the phone to figure out who his mystery girl was. Maybe Sam didn’t have any minutes, but she definitely has texting credit (and presumably texts from other people). It’s a bit like having a key for three doors. You have to try them all to figure out which door they key is for. That’s commonly known as common sense, but I guess that doesn’t translate well on-screen.

10. I love how I said three main reasons and then wrote nine. Anyway, the most visible teacher in this movie was some odd woman who has a crush on one of the students, is generally incompetent and serves no real purpose in the movie.

11. At the end of the movie, something ‘drops’ out of a book that Sam’s father gave her. His original will. This just conveniently happens after she snags herself a boyfriend. Apparently Chad Michael Murray is the key to finally being able to claim your inheritance, who knew? It seems odd that she’d have that book for years and never drop it, but that’s just me seeing things through my clumsy lense.

All of that being said, the movie is still entertaining and I feel like it aged well. It deserves way more than 11%! I’d give it 50 at least. I mean, the epic kiss at the close of the movie ENDED THE DROUGHT! You’ve got to give them props for that. True love conquers all. Even the weather.

Verdict: 5/10

15 thoughts on “Bad Moviethon #10 – A Cinderella Story (2004)

  1. I have never seen this movie (probably not a surprise)… but it’s not necessarily because I don’t enjoy a super-cheesy romance (because I do… as long as it’s not super cringe-worthy)… it’s because I never really paid any attention to its existence… and because I do not like Chad Michael Murray. I guess that’s an unpopular opinion, maybe? But he is just… ick. Don’t know why. Oh, hell, there are other guys like this — girls swoon and I’m all… ew, him??

    Anyway… I enjoyed your recap. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, I didn’t think the movie was THAT bad, but I’m biased because I loved it when I was younger, lol!

      Chad was a douche back in the day. He can’t keep his hands off his damn costars. I remember him cheating on Sophia Bush with Paris Hilton (of all people). And then his long time (now) ex girlfriend was someone he took to her prom when she was ~16 and he was well, older. Between that period and his career tanking after OTH, he seemed to go through a personality transplant. I remember when he joined Twitter, we were all expecting craziness but he was soooo nice. He even sent me a DM to thank him for the love (lmao). It was the weirdest thing.

      Fast forward a few years and he cheated (or so I heard) on the prom girl, hooked up with another co-star, and then broke up with her for someone who was on the same show as them. Dude is messy af, no matter how nice he is on Twitter. So yes, I completely understand. There’s definitely something icky about him. Plus he’s friends with Jared Padalecki so maybe douchiness is contagious. 😂😂 I’m disturbed that I know so much…😕

      I never really got the attraction until I rewatched this movie. He doesn’t do it for me, but I guess the gals like that squinty, brooding look he does. LOL. I can sort of see the appeal.

      Thank you! 😊


        1. Jensen (the other guy) has never done anything for me either. He’s pretty but boring pretty. Jared was my future husband for many years (LOL) until I realised what a douchecanoe he is. My love for him knew no bounds and then he went and ruined it all. 😂


  2. This movie is so bad…but I also somehow love it? Hilary Duff’s acting is CRINGE but the mom and the step sisters are hilarious. The fact that Chad Michael Murray’s character doesn’t put together that it’s her is pretty maddening though, given that she wasn’t really in a huge disguise and they chatted all night. Have you seen part 2 with Selena Gomez and 3 with Lucy Hale? Of that series…I think I actually like the Lucy Hale version the best. Or Selena’s? Oh I dunno. facepalm for days

    Liked by 1 person


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s