The Prince & Me (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner13/07/2004

Three out of Five stars

Say what you like about Julia Stiles, she certainly knows which side her bread is buttered, box-office-wise. While she's clearly intent on becoming 'a serious actress' with films like Hamlet 2000 and The Business of Strangers or her current stint onstage in London in Mamet's Oleanna, she also manages to neatly balance her more serious roles with fluffy, feelgood comedies or dramas such as Save The Last Dance. And while her latest film is no Pretty Woman, at least you won't end up feeling terribly embarrassed for her, as was the case with A Guy Thing.

On paper you can see why Stiles took the role - she gets to play another of her fiercely intelligent characters and the film is directed by Sex and the City's Martha Coolidge, who ought to know a thing or two about romantic comedy. Stiles plays Paige Morgan, a hard-working student at the University of Wisconsin with dreams of becoming a doctor in the third world. However, she hadn't counted on meeting and, eventually, falling for new student Eddie (Luke Mably), who, unbeknownst to her, is actually Prince Edvard Valdemar, heir to the throne of Denmark.

There are no prizes for guessing where this is headed: when Paige finally discovers Eddie's identity she travels to Denmark and meets his parents (Miranda Richardson and James Fox), who are less than impressed, particularly when Eddie proposes and his father is revealed to be terminally ill. Will Paige buck tradition and become the new, free-thinking, soon-to-be Queen of Denmark? Or will she stick to her dreams and go back to college?

Astute film-lovers will no doubt have worked out that The Prince And Me is meant to be a modern reworking of Roman Holiday, only with the genders reversed. Sadly, the comparison doesn't do it any favours, because, as good as Stiles and Mably are, they’re no Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and although the first half is very enjoyable, the film starts to fall apart after the action moves to Denmark, with the 'romance' (white horses, uniforms etc) seeming too forced. In addition, the ending is clumsily handled and lacks the feel-good, emotional climax this sort of thing demands.

That said, there's still a lot to enjoy. Stiles makes an attractive lead and Mably is given several decent lines and generally has a lot more personality than most bland male co-stars in this sort of thing. (Anyone remember the male leads in What A Girl Wants or The Lizzie Maguire Movie? Thought not.) There's also strong comic support from Ben Miller as Eddie's long-suffering butler. The film is also refreshingly smut-free, so it comes as even more of a shock to hear the line, "Just take the meat between your fingers and slide it back and forth" as Paige and Eddie fall in love over the college delicatessen counter.

In short, The Prince and Me doesn't quite push all the right buttons but it's worth seeing for the performances and it should be a hit with its target audience.

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The Prince & Me (PG)
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Content updated: 17/10/2017 10:53

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