Devotees of Kay Thompson's children's classic will find little of her urbane sophistication in this cloddishly directed TV film. Whenever her glamorous mother is out of town, six year-old Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) treats New York's luxurious Plaza Hotel as her home. If her Nanny (Julie Andrews) happens to be occupied, Eloise simply treats the Plaza staff as her playmates, especially Bellboy Bill (Gavin Creel). Hotel Manager Mr. Salomone (Jeffrey Tambor), who's bracing for the annual debutante ball hosted by the fastidious Mrs. Daniels (Eve Crawford), is altogether less enchanted by the precocious child. With her penchant for racing through the lobby and frolicking in the hotel laundry, Eloise could easily gum up the Plaza's smooth operation. Naturally, underage Eloise bugs everyone for an invitation to the Daniels' ball, and if that weren't pressure enough, Mr. Salomone is also expecting the arrival of the Prince of Kushin. Expecting an adult potentate, Mr. Salomone actually overlooks the arrival of the prep-school prince (Kintaro Akiyama), who passes himself off as just plain Leon and is immediately corralled by Eloise, who whisks him off on her adventures. While Mrs. Daniels barks orders and tries to get her hooks into the Plaza's resident nobleman, Sir Wilkes (Kenneth Welsh), her daughter, Molly Daniels (Stephanie Ann Mills), starts keeping company with Eloise's lowly tutor, Philip (Jonas Chernick). Eloise must both return Leon to his father's bosom and play matchmaker for Molly, who doesn't want to be a socialite, and Nanny, who refuses to acknowledge her crush on Sir Wilkes. It's a shame that this movie purges the book's sophistication in favor of wholesome merriment and the slapstick is thoroughly generic. But the transformation of Thompson's endearing Eloise into a bratty prankster is unforgivable. Newcomer Vassilieva plays her as though she were Pippi Longstocking on speed, and that's a fundamental violation of the spirit that has made the Eloise books popular with generations of young readers and their parents.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: NR
- Review: Devotees of Kay Thompson's children's classic will find little of her urbane sophistication in this cloddishly directed TV film. Whenever her glamorous mother is out of town, six year-old Eloise (Sofia Vassilieva) treats New York's luxurious Plaza Hotel as… (more)