The Prince & Me
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Martha Coolidge
scr Jack Amiel, Michael Begler, Katherine Fugate
with Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, Miranda Richardson, James Fox, Eliza Bennett, Alberta Watson, John Bourgeois, Zachary Knighton, Stephen O'Reilly, Devin Ratray, Eddie Irvine
release US 2.Apr.04, UK 16.Jul.04
04/US 1h40

Not mere commoners after all: Mably and Stiles

stiles mably richardson
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This silly romantic comedy is pure fairy tale, but it's also charming enough to win us over in the end. There's nothing remotely convincing going on here, but the script, performances and filmmaking are all funny, sweet and thoroughly romantic.

Crown Prince Edvard of Denmark (Mably) is intent on getting away from his parents, so he heads to Wisconsin, where he hears the women are easy (wasn't this a joke from Love Actually as well?). Enrolling in university as an exchange student called "Eddie"--with his personal assistant (Miller) in tow--he meets Paige (Stiles), a strong-willed farm girl from Wisconsin intent on becoming a world-saving doctor. Of course they fall in love, but how will she take the news about his identity and cope with his imperious parents (Fox and Richardson)? And how will he survive life on the farm with her parents (Watson and Bourgeouis) and chucklehead brothers (Knighton and O'Reilly).

It's all extremely obvious, but the actors actually have a spark, and as a director Coolidge knows how to bring out her cast's energy. It also helps that Stiles and Mably have simmering chemistry that the script wisely avoids boiling over. The story is full of moments of raucous humour and cute drama that disarm our cynicism, and performances are all surprisingly solid for a frivolous film with such stereotypical characters. There are problems, of course: Everyone in Denmark conveniently speaks English (with a clipped British accent) so Paige can understand them. There's no earthy edge to the story--it makes Pretty Woman look gritty and realistic! This is unadulterated fantasy aimed at teen girls, barely knowing enough to keep everyone else watching. The idea that a brainy, independent woman really only wants a husband is more than a little offensive. And the filmmakers seem strangely unwilling to commit to their own conclusion. But never mind, it's bright and enjoyable, one of the first rom-coms in ages that's actually both romantic and funny.

cert PG themes, innuendo 18.May.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... The Prince & Me Viv Phillips, Capetown: 3.5/5 "Although the movie was lambasted by critics in US, it had its appeal especially in such wonderful looking leads Stiles and Mably (who both can act by the way), and that to my mind makes up for the rest of it. It's not a serious movie and never meant to be. However it is sweet enough to enjoy for what it is - syrupy and sweet." (7.Aug.04)

Anitamich, Ft Lauderdale: 4/5 "From the average viewers point of view it was a romantic fantasy, and delightful for all the reasons that the critics hated it for. Can't a movie be light, ridiculous and fluffy? Isn't life serious enough that one can't take a walk on the wild side and have some fun? All in all anyway, I felt it stood for something in the end. That being: that a woman can make her own life decisions and still end up happy with someone. Compromises were made and all's well that ends well. After all, it's the movies, isn't it?" (19.Jun.05)

2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall