Shy cookware salesperson Georgia Byrd (Latifah) is told she has three weeks to live. She heads to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic to end her days in a five-star hotel and finds that her newly liberated personality brings respect from all comers — save jealous retail magnate boss Matthew Kragen (Hutton).
It’s refreshing to see Queen Latifah playing a mild-mannered character in this remake of the lauded 1950 Alec Guinness comedy, but be warned: it doesn’t last long. As soon as she’s told she has three weeks to live (via a second-hand CAT scanner, should you be concerned), Georgia cashes in her bonds, lets her hair down and flies to Europe in search of a dream holiday and the many culinary delights of famous chef Didier (Gérard Depardieu).
That people speak French in the Czech Republic does not seem to concern her, nor does the fact that her passage appears to be at the mercy of product-placement sponsors. No, for Georgia now has money, which makes her a lot happier than friends, church, cooking or potential boyfriend Sean (LL Cool J) ever did. It’s a completely vacuous message, and its only purpose seems to be aspirational: after her Pretty Woman makeover to render her “international”, Georgia glides around the hotel turning heads and befriending influential rich folk who drink in her newfound honesty and wisdom.
If you can overlook the hideous Euro-stereotypes, Georgia’s DIY Pygmalion job has its pleasures, but after about an hour of watching her preening you begin to hope that CAT scan machine was correct...
Money can buy you happiness in this inferior remake — although its makeover storyline may please fans of The Princess Diaries et al.
Reviewed by Anna Smith