THE PRINCE & ME

2.5 Stars
Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 101 minutes
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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what demographic the studio was targeting when the green lit this project. It’s a classic cliché that we’ve seen many times but the story never seems to get old. The timeless fantasy seen within the ‘The Prince & Me’ is another regurgitation of the classic royal/famous boy meets regular/commoner girl, falls in love, etc, etc, kind of chick flick. While clichéd up the ying yang, ‘The Prince & Me’ was actually a lot more tolerable than I assumed it would be, especially given its overused concept. It’s not the best film I’ve seen this year, I’d rather see this one again before a lot of the sinkers that have come out so far in 2004. While there were a lot of scenes that resulted in some heavy eye rolling, a cliché free ending saved this film from becoming just another corny piece of romantic comedy trash. It was all right and clearly nowhere near what I would consider to be ‘Razzie’ material. It’s a film I’m also sure many women will enjoy watching, especially if they are into this kind of fairytale story.

Julia Stiles plays Paige Morgan, a driven medical student determined to avoid being tied down by the careless romance. She has watched all her friends marry away and doesn’t want to give up her quest to travel the world for anything, even love. Stile’s character assumes that she’s above the concept of love and floats through school assuming that no one would be good enough to knock her off her quest to travel the world and be the good missionary after med-school. Clearly a graduate of the ‘Julia Roberts’ school for stale acting, Stiles plays a strong yet naive romantic that is all too common in today’s romantic comedies. I have a feeling that she is capable of being one of the better romantic actresses out there, she just needs to find the right material, and everything else will fall into place.

Then we come to the Prince of Denmark, who thankfully isn’t named Hamlet. No, this Danish prince is named Edward; a name that I didn’t realize was so common in Denmark. After watching one too many ‘Girls Gone Wild’ infomercials, Edward decides to travel to America to experience the wild college life that he assumes is going on in every college dorm across that side of the planet. Preferring to be called ‘Eddie’, the Prince goes incognito, trying to pass himself off as a ‘regular’ student… hoping that a few drunk girls will flash him and expose him to some good old fashion American T&A. So where does he go to experience all this wild and crazy fun? Wisconsin. That’s right, the party central of Middle America. Despite the Prince’s odd attitude and butler like assistant trailing behind and pulling out chairs for him, none of the natives seems to be capable of growing a brain and figuring out what’s going on. What actually made this film semi-tolerable was the on-screen chemistry between Stiles and Mably (the Prince). Their cat and mouse chase exposition is much more interesting than the predictable, over the top finale and makes one think how entertaining this couple could be if they had some good material to work with.

That brings us to the main and fatal flaw in this film: writing. The script is over the top, off the wall atrocious. Based on what is truly one of the most romantic stories ever told, it’s a shame to watch what has the potential to be a good film get ditched by irresponsible, lethargic writing. You can tell when the writers are not doing their homework, and in this film the mistakes stick out like a naked guy in a crowd with his hair on fire. Here are just a few examples of the kind of brain farts these writers experienced when penning this script:

Exhibit A: The fact that the Prince of Denmark is NEVER recognized at all while attending classes and roaming around is ridiculous. We are never even told how the reporters find out where he is. They just show up as if Scotty beamed them down from the Enterprise to his exact location.

Exhibit B: I’ve never really been to Wisconsin myself, but I’ve seen enough Packer games to know that it’s usually quite cold and snowy up there by late November. Chances are they would be racing snowmobiles that time of year instead of lawnmowers during the Thanksgiving holiday. I’m sure if we spoke with someone who actually comes from this state, we’d get a million more examples of how preposterous their portrayal of Wisconsin really is.

Exhibit C: At first, the Queen of Denmark hates Paige, but when they patch things up… the writers assume female bonding is best experienced when picking out jewelry together, something I found to not only be chauvinistic, but a complete departure for the characters, who are supposed to be strong, independent women. I realize this was a scene created merely to show off fancy jewelry (again, appealing to the target audience) but do they really have to cheapen what were two strong characters into giggling teenage girls trying on jewelry?

That’s just three examples of how lazy the writing was with this film. If they had bothers to consult anyone or clicked on the Internet a few times to do a little research, it could have made a profound difference in the quality of this picture. The fact that the director doesn’t questions some of this and just shoots it as if it were all fact is quite disturbing, and its proof that not all scripts should be green lit without doing a little background checking first. While some of the dialogue was quite sharp and on the ball, it’s disappointing how they could drop the ball with such minor details. It really takes away from the film’s better parts and ruins a movie that had potential to be so much more.

While there were a lot of corny, laugh out loud scenes, overall it wasn’t a horrible movie. My wife loved every minute of it, but then again… she is a member of the target audience. Had I went to see this film alone, there is a chance I would have walked out halfway through it, most likely during the lawnmower race in Wisconsin. While the concept of Princes going to far off colleges is not unrealistic (England’s Princes came did just that in Canada), I realize that this story is pure escapism as a fantasy that every girl has at one point or another, which is to marry their Prince Charming and become a Princess. Since that was the goal of this movie, I have to say it was successful is doing at least that much. It provided the escape and created a romantic story that I am sure will tug at the heartstrings of every lady/homosexual that have ever fantasized about being swept off their feet by royalty. Overall, the film was average in my opinion. Its something that I am sure the ladies will enjoy, but something the guys should avoid at all costs, unless you’re a glutton for intellectual torture.



Posted on May 11, 2004 in Reviews by
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