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A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits (2016) – Dancing Through an Iconic Fable


If a franchise isn’t broken, why fix it? This seems to be the perpetual question behind this romcom series that was first introduced to us with the Hillary Duff led film and has since produced four additional titles (including ‘If the Shoe Fits’), all unrelated to the other but each retells the iconic fable.


Tessa (Sofia Carson) has a challenged life. Not only is she treated as little more than a servant, to make matters worse, she must be a servant to her stepmother (Jennifer Tilly) and two stepsisters. Things change when, while her step family prepares to audition for a potentially life-changing play (a re-telling of Cinderella, naturally), Tessa is convinced to audition in disguise. She auditions as a famous British pop star, Bella, which makes things complicated when she falls for her leading man, Reed (Thomas Law).

Finding a way to be both proves difficult for Tessa. But when Reed shows a greater interest in Tessa than Bella, she must find a way to reveal who she really is without compromising everything.

Despite the repetitive themes and the occasional overemphasized sappy (*insert eye roll*) moment, I really enjoy these lighthearted romantic-comedies.  This is no exception to that rule. I loved everything about this little film, including the fact that there are some “twists.” This is the fourth film following in the A Cinderella Story footsteps, and it’s easily one of the best. While Selena Gomez’s was high on (over)sappy romantics and Lucy Hale’s opted for more “adult” humor (and then there was that one that I cannot remember with the blonde Cinderella), this one finds an in-between that works. The opening is unnecessary (it’s a musical production), but once that obligatory scene is out of the way, the rest is smoother sailing.


The cast does a nice job with their roles only don’t expect anything different from the stepsister characterizations. They’re still over-the-top ridiculous, but it was entertaining to see Jennifer Tilly as the stepmother, Divine. (Tilly was immediately a familiar face from A&E’s period drama The Magnificent Andersons.) Then there is Sofia Carson, who makes a convincing “Cinderella” (all sweetness and light even as she’s ill-treated). Fans of Disney will love seeing the Descendants star in this darling bit of fluff.

Though each of these sequels have been direct-to-DVD titles, they’re worth a rental if you like this sort of production. What I liked about this one was that Tessa’s disguise was more believable than 99% of its peers make their Cinderella, and there wasn’t some dramatic “break up” ten minutes before the end. Instead the story wraps up minus this “filler,” and tells its story in its own way, which I respected. If you’re anything like me, you’d enjoy this one for your next Saturday night in. Watch it with your sister or mother (mine loved it right along with me), and simply enjoy it for what it is – silly romance that’s purpose is no greater than to entertain.

So before you go into this one, go into it with that simple premise and you’ll probably walk away with a smile.

Photos: WB
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