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A modern Cinderella would still care about going to the ball, but not without a cell phone strapped delicately to her ankle. For even though she hasn’t yet laid eyes on her prince, she feels as if she already knows him—because, duh, they’ve been text-messaging each other, like, a million times a day. Or so claims Hilary Duff’s latest contribution to the oh-my-gawd! market, A Cinderella Story, which is otherwise remarkably faithful to the classic fairy tale. The only other remarkable things about it, unfortunately, are its relentless stupidity and “Christ, is this over yet?” pacing. Duff plays Sam, a high-school senior with Princeton ambitions and a hole in her heart from losing her dad in an earthquake eight years earlier. His assets, including a successful diner, went to Sam’s stepmother, Fiona (an appropriately repulsive Jennifer Coolidge), who uses her control of Sam’s college fund to essentially enslave her stepdaughter even as she’s spoiling her own children. Sam, who must work in the diner, is also shunned by her school’s elite, including the dreamy Austin (Chad Michael Murray). The only bright spot in her life is a boy she became acquainted with in a Princeton chat room, and they spend their free time glued to phones and computers, sighing at each message and wondering if they already know each other. Written by first-time scripter Leigh Dunlap, A Cinderella Story is unforgivably humorless and unrealistic. A little fantasy is fine—this is a fairy tale, after all—but the movie’s characters bear no resemblance to thinking human beings, a flaw most irritatingly on display at the Big Dance, where a tiny eye mask keeps everyone from recognizing the school’s most hated student. And though the exchange of love letters is sometimes an effective narrative device, play-by-play text messaging isn’t—especially when the ever-stiff Sam helpfully translates. Then, it’s just “Laugh. Out. Loud.” —Tricia Olszewski