A Cinderella Story is a 2004 retelling of "Cinderella" starring Hilary Duff.Sam Montgomery is the downtrodden "Diner Girl", a teen girl who's been forced to waitress at her cruel stepmother's diner ever since her father died. The only thing she has is the hope of getting out of the house and going to Princeton. Another person is planning on going to Princeton, a young man that she met at a chatroom who goes to the same school as her. She's fallen in love with him, and they plan to reveal their identities to each other at the Halloween dance. It turns out her Internet beau was the captain of the football team. How will Austin react to the girl of his dreams being a dorky waitress?Spiritual Predecessor to Another Cinderella Story and, subsequently, A Cinderella Story Once Upon A Song. There is also a Bollywood remake.
This film provides examples of:
Adults Are Useless: Sam is humiliated in front of everyone at the pep-rally... while the teachers sit there and do nothing.
Beneath the Mask: Austin lives large as the Big Man on Campus...and hates it. Deep down, he wants to escape his controlling father and become a writer. (This is why he feels his relationship with Sam is so important- she sees him for who he is.)
Broken Aesop: Any moral the movie is trying to make by having Austin choose Sam in the end (such as looking past wealth and status to love someone for who they really are) is broken by the fact that Sam chooses Austin. Aside from being cute and rich, he has few redeeming qualities. He starts out the movie cheating on his girlfriend with an innocent girl, stalks his "Princeton-Girl" throughout, and wants nothing to do with Sam when he learns she is a waitress. Sam still chooses him over Terry or Carter, who actually like her for who she is.
Another one of the movie's morals is that if you are in an abusive family situation, all you need to do is stick up for yourself and everything will get better. Not only is that full of horrible, horrible Unfortunate Implications, if it was not for the fact that Rhonda was willing to adopt her, Sam would have just made things worse for herself by telling her stepfamily off in the end.
There are comments scattered throughout the movie that look down on women who diet. It's as if the people who made it are saying, "You should look as good as Hillary Duff, but god help you if you get there by dieting!" There was also an early scene in the diner where one of Austin's friends makes fun of one of Shelby's friends for having an eating disorder.
Cool Loser: Sam. The pep-rally scene makes it clear the entire school (except Carter) hates her...for no reason in particular. In case you thought they were only screaming "Diner Girl" at Sam during the pep-rally because they were innocently going along with the skit, there is a follow-up scene with people pointing and laughing at Sam, while she is crying.
People can be heard cheering for Sam and Austin during their first kiss, so they might just be fickle.
Costume Test Montage: Sam tries on a lot of costumes to find the perfect one for the Halloween dance.
Could Have Avoided This Plot: If Sam had just looked in the fairy tale book at any point in the years since her father's death, she would have found her father's will and saved herself a whole lot of misery and abuse.
Daddy's Girl: Sam's dad was her best friend, and she was his.
Joisey: Inverted. Sam's happy ending is escaping Los Angeles to Princeton.
Just Friends: Averted with Sam and Carter. They are just friends, no ship-teasing or unresolved sexual tension.
Karma Houdini: Shelby and her lackeys are never punished for the pep-rally, despite the fact that it is performed in front of the faculty. While she receives some Laser-Guided Karma in the end, it has nothing to do with the rally whatsoever.
Laser-Guided Karma: Fiona and her daughters are put to work in the diner to pay back the money they stole from Sam. It is safe to say they are stuck there for the rest of their lives.
A bit more subtle example; After publicly humiliating Sam, Shelby later gets rejected by two different boys in front of large crowds of people. The fact that she is trying to mooch off of Carter implies that she and her friends lost their social standing.
Let's Just Be Friends. Defied. When Austin breaks up with Shelby, he tries to use this line, but is cut off by Shelby, who says he was just having a mental lapse. She stops this trope from happening.
Lost Will And Testament: Sam's stepmother had initially gotten everything that belonged to Sam's father because he didn't make a will stating otherwise but it was eventually revealed he did leave a will and Fiona knew about it. To avoid prison time for this, she agreed to perform "community services" at the diner.
Mama Bear: Rhonda to Sam. Sam's the only reason Rhonda stayed at the diner all those years.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Sam is portrayed as justified in thinking her friend, Terry, is not good enough for her because he is a nerd. Shelby doing the same to Carter, and Austin doing the same to Sam herself are both portrayed as being snobby and unfair. You honestly think "Diner Girl" would not have such high standards.
Redemption in the Rain: Austin gives up his football scholarship and possibly his social standing to run after Sam (which also represents him taking back control of his life from his dad). It starts rain after Sam forgives him, and they begin to kiss.
Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Austin's dad wants him to go a different college on a football scholarship, then inherit his successful carwash business, and Austin can't work up the nerve to admit that his true dream is to be a writer. After finally getting together with Sam, Austin sets his dad straight and tells him he plans on going to Princeton. This turns into a subversion as Austin's dad decides to support his decision.
This Bollywood remake provides specific examples of:
Completely Different Title: Aashiqui.in (Essentially, "Love.com") This is not because Indian audiences would not recognize Cinderella, since April even uses that as her username and goes to the ball in a Cinderella costume.
Cultural Translation: Among other things, Cyrus (Austin) is a swimmer instead of a footballer. Sonia (Shelby) is a dancer instead of a cheerleader. The action takes place at a college instead of a high school. April (Sam) tries to win a scholarship (so she can afford to leave home), which replaces the original Princeton subplot. Instead of a pep rally, Sonia merely stages a party at the restaurant April works where she exposes April as Cinderella.
There is also a subplot of April being looked down upon for having dark skin.
Bizarrely, many references to American media is replaced...with different American media. Raj (Carter) goes as The Mask instead of Zorro.
Gratuitous English: Almost half of the dialogue is in English, especially lines from the original movie.
Karma Houdini: April (Sam's counterpart) never reclaims the restaurant from her stepmother (though we can assume that she legally inherited it) or learns that she lied about the scholarship.
Similarly, the popular kids never get punished for their behavior, though it is implied that Sonia repents for her actions.
Playing Cyrano: One of April's stepsisters forces to create an email identity (Cinderella) that she was supposed to make for a writing project, and this is how she meets Cyrus.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Mona lies to April about winning the scholarship, knowing that she would use the money to leave home. This is never resolved.
Unlike Shelby in the first movie, Sonia seems to repent her cruelty, and wishes Cyrus well when he goes after April. Whether or not she patches things up with Raj is never resolved, especially since Astrid's counterpart already has a boyfriend.