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Sometimes, you just hate to see them grow up—especially when it means a sequel. Opening with the standard “Dear Diary” recap, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement finds “regular girl” Mia (Anne Hathaway), princess of the fictional Genovia, recently graduated from college and on the cusp of her 21st birthday. After arriving at the castle and settling into her killer digs, Mia learns that her utopian hamlet isn’t exactly forward-thinking: In order for a Genovian woman to take the crown, she must be married. (Tag line: “She needs the rock to rule.”) Mia is given 30 days by the crooked-wigged members of Parliament to find a suitable husband or else turn the kingdom over to the nephew of dastardly Viscount Mabrey (John Rhys-Davies). Trouble is, Mabrey’s nephew, the conflicted Sir Nicholas (Chris Pine), is a stone fox: bedroom-eyed, disturbingly tan, and brimming with an Abercrombie-like metrosexuality. Scripters Gina Wendkos and Shonda Rhimes seem to have provided only this framework: Actors frequently trip over lines, mumble, and talk over one another in a strangely unnatural, ad-libby style, and a bizarre musical number is explicable only by the presence of Julie Andrews reprising her role as Queen Grandma. (Given that Andrews’ voice grows increasingly hoarse as the film progresses, one wonders whether this was a wise choice.) The disjointed scenes hobble along, bolstered by inside jokes meant to capitalize on the popularity of director Garry Marshall’s first installment (Mia plays more sports!) and his legacy (in an echo of Pretty Woman’s escargot scene, an attendant catches an ill-flung bracelet, quipping, “It happens all the time”). Mia, of course, giggles, grimaces, and pratfalls her way to the throne, nearly succumbing to the sexist law with a confusingly accented suitor. (Is he English? Scottish? Does it matter?) In the end, the follow-your-heart message slaps everyone upside the head, even Queen Grandma, whose patrician romance with her security guard (an almost-lifelike Hector Elizondo) generates more heat than Mia and Nicholas’. And that isn’t saying much. —Anne Marson