Becoming a princess, famous, or a prom queen—the possibilities are endless
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
As an American teenager going off to stir up drama with the UK government, it’s inevitable that this movie is filled with humorous drama.
Early 2000s cinema was peak for teen-angst-ridden drama filled with now-superstars among one-hit wonders. Sadly, most of these films received pretty low and critical reviews, and even worse scores on Rotten Tomatoes. However, that doesn’t mean the reviews are correct. In this day, any media that can help someone escape for a while and put a smile on their face is a win.
In fact, there’s nothing like kicking back with some friends, a bottle of Pink Moscato, and a classic girl-versus-the-world movie to both make fun of and secretly wish to live out. Here are some timeless favourites (that aren’t Mean Girls, She’s the Man, or Clueless) which are sure to end off any safe social bubble slumber party on a high note.
She’s All That
To be fair, She’s All That came out in 1999, but some 2000s kids were in the womb, so that comes close enough. Besides, it deserves to be on the list.
This movie does everything right by sticking its middle finger in the face of stereotypical tropes exhausted by other films in this genre. For starters, the lead love interest, Zack Siler (Freddie Prinze Jr.), isn’t a complete good-for-nothing bad boy. Instead, he’s a, well, good boy—sort of like a Golden Retriever, really. His pure heart and charming smile could get anyone; however, the real charm is in his top GPA and Dartmouth, Yale, and Harvard acceptance letters. Talk about a real catch!
Best of all, the secrets kept between the protagonists aren’t so big and bad. Zack has a bet with his friends to make Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) the school artist—AKA “loser” in these types of films—prom queen. Unexpectedly, Zack and his friends are actually nice to her, and she ends up in the prom queen running with him barely putting effort into changing her at all. We love to see it.
The Princess Diaries
This 2001 iconic film features Anne Hathaway as Mia Thermopolis (the princess-to-be), and Julie Andrews as Queen Clarisse Renaldi, Mia’s grandmother. This movie marks the epitome of watching VHS tapes in the basement with your sisters in the early 2000s.
Mia is just a regular—albeit shy and nerdy—teenage girl who finds out she is the true heir to the kingdom of Genovia. The Princess Diaries may as well had created epic makeover transformations because the change Mia goes through during princess training with her grandmother is for the history books. Luckily, she doesn’t lose sight of who she is and what she likes, which makes her an entertaining princess to watch blossom.
What a Girl Wants
Starring Amanda Bynes (possibly the queen of 2000s teen films) What a Girl Wants is… a bit on the shallower side of fun teen romcoms. Though, that’s not a bad thing if you’re looking for a really easy watch. To be honest, it’s not extremely easy to watch as there are some unforgettably cringey moments as Bynes’ character, Daphne Reynolds, finds herself in messy situations while trying to reconcile with her long-lost famous politician father. As an American teenager going off to stir up drama with the UK government, it’s inevitable that this movie is filled with humorous drama.
The movie is worth it to watch simply for the iconic wreck of a fashion show scene where Daphne finds herself on the runway wearing regular clothes yet completely killing the performance.
Saving the best for last, Wild Child—starring Emma Roberts as Poppy Moore—is clearly the best early 2000s film there is. It has everything: a rebellious spoiled Malibu girl, an English boarding school, incredibly strange roommates, a bad boy love interest, a hateable antagonist, a huge house fire, an epic makeover, and even competitive lacrosse. Not to mention the pranks, fights, and amazing dance scene where Poppy Moore truly gets down—California style.
The moral conflict throughout the film showcases similar dilemmas everyone faces on a daily basis: be like the people around you or be the authentic you.
There’s a special charm to early 2000s films starring female leads that you really can’t find anywhere else (besides maybe old Barbie.com websites). You can—without judgment—live out the internalized dream of becoming prom queen, famous, a princess, or even a star lacrosse player if that’s what you so desire, all whilst meeting the person of your dreams. What’s better than that?