The Prince & Me Review
By Shawn McKenzie 04/04/2004
Once again, I have to criticize a movie’s trailer. When I saw the trailer for The Prince & Me, I realized I had seen the whole movie essentially. After seeing the movie, I was right…there wasn’t anything surprising about the movie…at least plot-wise. The real surprise was that it didn’t pander to the tweenage girl crowd.
Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a college student who grew up on a dairy farm in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She lived with her family; mom Amy (Alberta Watson), who gave up a career to be a mom; dad Ben (John Bourgeois), who believes the family farm is dying; and lawnmower-racing brothers John and Mike (Zachary Knighton and Stephen O’Reilly.) She is now taking classes at the University of Wisconsin and hopes to attend medical school at Johns Hopkins so that she can work for Doctors without Borders. Edvard Valdemar Dangaard (Luke Mably) is the crown prince of Denmark. He is a car-racing ladies man with little desire to be the heir to the throne. This stresses out his mother, Queen Rosalind (Miranda Richardson), and father, King Haraald (James Fox), especially since the King is dying. After Edvard sees a commercial for “Wild Girls of Wisconsin” (a “Girls Gone Wild”-type video where girls take their tops off), he makes the assumption that Wisconsin is loaded with hot girls willing to flash him, and it might make a great place to get away for awhile. He leaves his parents and 12-year-old sister, Princess Arabella (Eliza Bennett), to have a wild time in Wisconsin. They do insist that he takes his personal servant, Soren (Ben Miller), along with him though. Edvard commands Soren to call him Eddie and not to tell anyone of his heritage or position. He almost literally runs into Paige with his car, and he starts to fall for her. She isn’t too crazy about him, because she doesn’t like his playboy ways (he asks her to take her top off on the first night of knowing her.) After enrolling in her classes and becoming her lab partner in Professor Begler’s (Stephen Singer) science class, she starts to fall for him. She even invites him home with her over Thanksgiving weekend, and he helps her with her Shakespeare class. Eventually, she learns that he is the prince and must decide whether to follow him back to Denmark or continue with her academic career.
If you saw the trailer and thought that it looked like a cross between Coming to America and The Princess Diaries, you’d be right. It would have been a shocker if it had ended in any other way than the formulaic happy ending. Fortunately, the movie doesn’t do the sappy Hilary Duff/Lindsey Lohan material that most PG-rated chick flicks tend to do. In fact, there were times that I was surprised that it didn’t get a PG-13 rating. There was no violence, nudity, and I only counted one swear word, but there was a lot more adult content than I had expected. At one point, Paige takes Eddie “behind the stacks” of the library to have sex (which was an odd place for them to have their first sexual encounter) before they are stopped by some paparazzi. The only thing I could come up with was the fact that these were college students, so it isn’t unusual for this kind of adult material.
I don’t know if the fact that it was directed by Martha Coolidge is a factor in the movie’s content. She helmed both 1983’s Valley Girl and 1985’s Real Genius, both movies that weren’t kiddie movies. Why she didn’t go for the PG-13 (or even the R rating, which would have made it quite a saucy chick flick), I don’t know. Maybe she was trying to prove that a chick flick geared toward teenage girls didn’t have to be brain dead.
Stiles and Mably have great chemistry together. While I had a hard time believing that he was ever a playboy, Mably made a good romantic lead. Stiles didn’t get as gushy as she could have, which made her less annoying than most other Cinderella-story leads.
Miller and the prince’s college roommate (I couldn’t track down the character’s name or the actor who played him) were comedic standouts. Miller was in the Coming to America Arsenio Hall role, and though he didn’t get as much screen time, he shined in the scenes he was in.
Overall, I think that The Prince & Me makes a good date flick, and not just for middle school couples. Sure, women will get more out of it than men (since there are no explosions), but it won’t make them cringe either.
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