In A Cinderella Story, Hilary Duff plays Sam (the Cinderella role) in the update of the classic rags to riches to story. Except this time, there’s like a prom, cell phones, and a mansion! It’s like, so modern now! It’s also Hilary’s vehicle, which she (and her handlers) hope will lead to superstardom.
From the moment the page loads, her voice can be heard, greeting her fans. She is super perky and girly as she tells them that, “Chad Micheal Murray is quite the prince” and that she’s “so excited!” Although in the poster, she is overly made up and looks about 35 years old instead of a teenager. Chad Micheal Murray looks like he’s helping his very short mom walk – and it hurts his back badly, as he appears to be wincing.
Haylie, however, probably only knew the song existed once they decided to record it. She said to MTV.com in May 2004, “I thought it fit in the movie because there’s a secret relationship going on in ‘A Cinderella Story’ and it’s kind of like a secretive song.” Um, if only secrets mean that nothing was being told and the evil girl clique didn’t know about it. And, oh, that it meant the evil girls were mysterious and not at all shallow!
Hilary fared at bit better: “The movie’s kind of about what goes on in high schools and how people are mean to each other, so I think that it fits really good.” (MTV.com, May 2004.) At least there is one sister who has an understanding of the song. There’s hope yet.
But not too much hope. Their version is haughty and smug. Somehow the Duff sisters make it seem people are talking about them because they are so popular and pretty. And gosh darn it, they can’t help it if other people are jealous!
In an ironic change, the single has more rock elements than the original. The drums are louder and the guitars are speedier. Unfortunately, the girls can’t keep up with it. Haylie struggles, stretching and flattening the notes with each word sung. During the second verse, Hilary rushes to get out the “underworld like a precious pearl” lyric. Like the original, the bridge also has some problems here. While Belinda Carlisle’s mistake was the way she sung it, Hilary can barely sing it at all. Much less, as clear Carlisle did.
There is also a lyric omission (“Careless talk/through paper walls/we can’t stop/only laugh at them”) which ended up being a good decision. Otherwise, they would’ve gone from conceited to mean.