Prince And Me, The
Based on the failsafe romantic premise that every girl dreams of meeting her Prince Charming, The Prince & Me attempts to modernize the theme by giving the girl a chance to get the guy on her own terms, thus transforming its message into yet another failsafe formula for the 21st century: Yes, girls, you really can have it all.
Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is under a lot of pressure. She's a pre-med student at the University of Wisconsin, so she's got class all day, a minimum wage job tending bar in the evenings, and she burns the midnight oil filling out med school applications through the night. She's driven, she's got goals, and by golly, she doesn't have time for love. Prince Edvard (Luke Mably), on the other hand, lives a charmed existence: He'll be king one day, and he lives in a castle in Denmark, travels the world, races fast cars, has a butler (Ben Miller) to tend to his every need, and his exploits in love are emblazoned on the pages of nearly every European tabloid. But when the royal mum and dad (Miranda Richardson and James Fox) demand that Edward start acting like a guy about to become king, he's feeling some pressure, too. Miraculously, an infomercial featuring hot Midwestern college girls baring their breasts inspires him to head for the dairy capital of the world--penniless, but with butler in tow--where he meets Paige. He introduces himself simply as ''Eddie,'' then asks her to bare her breasts. This tack, naturally, gets him nowhere fast, so he decides to woo this coed spitfire by learning to be a little more like her and a little less like the pampered prince that she, as yet, doesn't know him to be: He gets a job, tutors her in Shakespeare, and helps with the chores when they visit her parents' dairy farm. Love blooms, but what the future holds for these star-crossed lovers, from two such different worlds, remains to be seen.
With The Prince & Me, Stiles adds another lightweight coed romance to a growing list that includes Save the Last Dance and A Guy Thing, and as usual the talented actress adds more to the role than she gets from it. When her character's in her element, especially on the family farm in Wisconsin, Stiles comes off as genuine and the performance is relatively natural, although her accent still carries vestiges of the posh 1950s school girl she played in the recent Mona Lisa Smile, which rings a little false. Mably seems well cast as the dashing prince; he's reminiscent of a young Prince Andrew or England's current favorite royal, Prince William. Mably's physical resemblance to these swoon-worthy royals helps fuel the chemistry between his character and Stiles', but chemistry isn't enough to overcome the overlong journey to the resolution of the formulaic plot. Nonetheless, adolescent girls will absolutely love this movie and no doubt will moon over pictures of the real-life princes, and Mably himself, in Tiger Beat for many days to come.
Once Eddie and Paige feel the initial spark of young love, The Prince & Me is a series of innocent courtship scenes and fish-out-of-water antics, culminating in a few too many will-they-won't-they cliffhangers as Eddie is pushed toward the throne and Paige has to decide whether or not she wants to trade in ''Dr. Morgan'' for ''Her Majesty, the Queen.'' Throughout the movie, one wonders how director Martha Coolidge and writers Jack Amiel and Michael Begler will end the fantasy: Will Paige be queen? Or will she stay true to her own dreams? Will Edward give up the throne to be with Paige? Or will The Prince & Me overcome all the obstacles of its formulaic plot setup and be--gasp--original? The filmmakers don't seem able to decide, and there are at least three stuttering codas at the conclusion of the movie, none of them particularly memorable or fulfilling. Alas, poor Yorick, you'll have to see it to find out what they are, but let's just say Romeo and Juliet, this ain't.
It's trite, it's contrived, but hey, it's romantic, and it's a great teenage date movie.