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Film: The Princess Diaries

Based on the book series of the same name, this pair of films stars Anne Hathaway in her Star-Making Role and Julie Andrews in her first Disney film since Mary Poppins.

Very little resembles the plot of the books. For the first film, much of the core plot from the first book does remain, however major changes were made to some plot points and characters or some of them were removed entirely. The second film, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is in fact an entirely new creation: the only plot point from the books being used was Mia's mother marrying her teacher and having a baby with him. However, these movies gave the world Anne Hathaway, for which the world will be forever grateful (and Chris Pine, for which women everywhere will be forever grateful), and are popular sleepover fare with preteen (and not so preteen) girls to this day.


This film series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Youthful Grandmother: It's Julie Andrews after all.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Mia in the book isn't quite attractive as Anne Hathaway is after the makeover
    • Grandpre is a chain-smoking old harridan in the books. In the film, she's Julie Andrews.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Clarisse goes from Evil Matriarch to Cool Old Lady. While Lily is still a massive Soapbox Sadie, the movie toned her down a LOT.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Mia in the books is a dirty blonde, and has it cut short. Movie Mia is brunette with frizzy shoulder-length hair, which gets straightened during the Makeover Montage.
    • Also Fat Louie, who is orange in the books but black-and-white in the movies.
  • Advertised Extra: Raven-Symoné as Asana in the sequel.
  • Adorkable: Only in the first film.
  • All There in the Script: Charlotte's last name, Kutaway.
  • Artifact Title: The movies lose the diary format the books are written in. Mia has a diary of low plot importance, making the title technically applicable, but not really.
  • Awkward Kiss: Mia wants her first kiss to be an epic moment where her foot pops up like in old movies. Unfortunately, her foot gets stuck in fishing net on the floor of the shack they were hiding in, and she was with a Romantic False Lead. She gets her epic kiss once she realizes the right guy is her old friend.
    • The sequel has one as well, when Mia and Andrew try to kiss to see if they have any romantic chemistry at all. Cue extremely uncomfortable liplock and the realization that they are definitely Better as Friends.
  • Bald of Awesome: Joe. Don't deny it.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mia and Nicholas in the sequel.
  • Better as Friends: Mia and Michael decide they are this in the second film.
    • Mia and Andrew as well.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Mia says this when Queen Clarisse tells her that she is a princess.
    Mia: Me, a princess? SHUT. UP!
    Clarisse: (sipping tea, doing a Spit Take) I beg your pardon? "Shut up"?
    Maitre'D: Your Majesty, in America, it doesn't always mean to be quiet. Here it could mean "Wow, gee whiz, golly wolly"...
    • Lilly also says this when Mia tells her the same thing.
    • In the sequel, Clarisse herself says it when the Genovian parliament drops the bomb that Mia must be married in order to ascend to the throne. Leads to a funny moment when the camera cuts back to an eavesdropping Mia:
    Clarisse: Shut up!
    Mia: Grandma said 'shut up'? Shut up!
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde Lana, Brunette (and Token Minority to boot) Vontana and Redhead Anna.
  • Blondes are Evil: Lana played by Mandy Moore.
  • Body Guard Crush: Queen Clarisse and Joe, the head of the security service, have feelings for each other. They eventually get together in the sequel.
  • Brick Joke: Mia talks to her mother about getting her first Foot Popping Kiss. After the debacle at the beach, Mia is crying into her mother's arms and wails "my foot didn't even pop!"
    • A little less harsh than the previous example, there is a moment near the beginning of the first film where Mia accidentally breaks off one of the fingers of a porcelain statue in the embassy. She tries to hide it by putting the finger in the statue's mouth. Later on, at the grand ball, two officials are admiring the statue and pondering whether or not the item in the statue's mouth is string cheese.
  • Call Back: Mia asks one of the dignitaries about her grandchildren, two of whom are named Lilly and Charlotte. Those are the names of the little twin girls with Jeremiah that Mia signs autographs for in the first film.
  • The Cast Showoff: Mandy Moore in the first movie, and Julie Andrews and Raven-Symoné in the second.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Two cases. First at the state dinner, Mia's clumsiness causes a fiasco that's Played for Laughs - and luckily for her everyone at the dinner finds it charmingly hilarious. But it then cuts to Mia in her room, sadly saying "I'm sorry I let you down" to a picture of her father.
    • The second comes at the beach. While getting hounded by the paparazzi isn't treated as funny, it's still played light-heartedly. When Lana and her Girl Posse expose her getting changed, any humour the scene may have had goes away with Mia's panicked "go away, all of you!" - and with the Fridge Horror that this is a 15-year-old girl the photographers are trying to get nude pictures of.
  • The Cheerleader: Lana. Lily also invokes this trope by worrying that next week Mia "could be waving pompoms in my face!"
  • Corpsing: The part where Mia falls off the bleachers was accidental. Anne Hathaway's laughing is genuine and arguably in-character so they kept rolling. Heather Matarazzo breaks character briefly but the scene goes on.
  • Cucumber Facial: "Can I tell you a secret? The cucumber does nothing."
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jeremiah is nowhere to be found in the second movie.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    Clarisse: You look so... young.
    Mia: Uh, thank you. And you look so... [long pause] ...clean.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mia's dad, Philippe. In the books, he is very much alive and only reveals to Mia that she's a Princess because he has testicular cancer and can no longer have any kids, making the illegitimate Mia his only heir. In the movie, they kill him in order to brush past testicular cancer in a Disney movie. Clarisse simply mentions a "terrible accident" implying that's how he died.
  • December-December Romance: Joe and Clarisse.
  • Femininity Failure: There's the awkward Mia who takes princess lessons and gets a makeover to which her friend tells her that she sold out. She's still clumsy after the lessons.
  • Fictional Country: Genovia
  • Foil: Josh and Michael, the romantic leads in the first film (neither of whom is relevant in the second). Josh is blonde, popular (when he tries, he can be a fairly charismatic speaker, like during the debate scene; mostly he's just an idiot, like his "Be the Ball" speech during PE class), and a showboat. Michael is brunet, plays keyboard in a garage band (the fangirls mostly show up for the guitarist), remains quiet and low-key, but has actual talent. A good comparison scene is during the band class, where Michael is playing piano and Josh is sitting right beside him: Michael has his head down, focusing on the keys, while Josh is hamming it up beside him, pretending to play the piano with his hands flying around dramatically.
  • Foot Popping: Mia expresses her wish to do this. She fails to do it with Josh, but succeeds with Michael. Also with Nicholas in the second movie.
  • Funny Background Event: Actually, Funny Foreground Event. When Clarisse is teaching Mia how to properly wave, Joe is in front of them, pretending to drive the car. Halfway through, Joe realizes he has to leave and mimes actually parking the car.
  • Gag Echo: See Big "Shut Up!" above.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Joe: Strange town San Francisco. When I purchased the pumps, he asked if I wanted them wrapped or if I wanted to wear them.
    • Also:
    Clarisse: You have a cousin who's a Contessa, known fondly as Bartholomew. Actually, we call him Pookie.
    • From the second one:
    Mia: [about a potential husband] He's cute.
    Joe: His boyfriend thinks he's handsome also.
    Mia and Lilly: Right on!
  • The Glasses Gotta Go
    Paolo: Do you wear contact lenses?
    Mia: Oh, I have them, but I really don't like to wear them that much.
    Paolo: Now... (breaks her glasses in half) you do.
    Mia: (shocked) You broke my glasses!
    Paolo: You broke my brush.
  • Hands-On Approach: Nicholas teaching Mia to shoot an arrow in the second movie.
  • Homage: In the second movie, Mia dances with a succession of royal suitors with humorous personalities and/or odd dance styles, much as Audrey Hepburn (also playing a somewhat unorthodox princess) does in Roman Holiday.
  • Imagine Spot: In a borderline Big Lipped Alligator Moment, after discussing Foot Popping, Mia has an Imagine Spot where a foot attempts to pop but fails due to her shoe being stuck to a piece of gum.
    • A cut scene from the first movie, which would have taken place before the makeover, has an Imagine Spot of Mia as a wooden puppet, following Clarisse's order.
  • The Makeover: Played straight in the movies.
  • Makeover Montage
  • Modesty Shorts: Seen when Mia comes down the spiral steps at the beginning.
  • Pair the Spares: In A Royal Engagement, the garden party makes it quite clear that not only are Mia and Nicholas the Official Couple of the film, Andrew is quite taken with Lady Elyssa, Nicholas' date. The final scene implies that they did indeed get together.
  • Punny Name: Charlotte's unspoken last name Kutaway is because the character frequently appears in cutaway shots.
  • Quirky Country: Genovia, if the second movie is anything to go by. Apparently, marching bands with violin and accordion players are commonplace there, as are goats that moo and pear-flavoured popcorn.
  • Retcon: Despite having liked two guys in the first movie and officially dating one of them at the end, Mia will state in the sequel that she's never been in love. Then again, she could have been talking about being in a serious relationship; how many high school romances tend to last after high school?
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mia. She even provides the picture for the trope page.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lilly ships Mia/Nicholas. Mia ships Joe/Clarisse.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Nicholas and his uncle initially try to torpedo Mia/Andrew so Nicholas can be king. He has a change of heart.
  • Ship Tease: Lily and the leader of the Royal Guard Band in the sequel. He even goes as far as to ask if he could call her in California, and she slips him her business card.
  • Shout-Out (and also Actor Allusion): In the second movie, Julie Andrews saying "I've done a LOT of flying in my day."
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "Lily, just because your hair sucks, get off mine"
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Mia and Nicholas. Literally.
  • Succession Crisis: The plot of the second movie. Gets resolved when Nicholas allows Mia to have the throne, mainly because he never wanted it and is in love with her.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Clarisse and Joe. If Viscount Mabrey's comment is anything to go by, this has been going on for quite some time. They finally resolve it by getting married in the sequel.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: Played straight in the sequel.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Mia to Clarisse, after the fountain incident in the second movie.
    • Also in the first movie, when Mia shows up wet at the event where she is supposed to announce that she is the new princess.

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