At college Paige meets Eddie, a fellow student from Denmark, whom she first dislikes but later accepts, likes, and loves; he proves to be Crown Prince Edvard. Paige follows him to Copenhagen, and he follows her back to school with a plan.
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At the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Paige, a pre-med student and a farm girl from Manitowoc, meets Eddie, a fellow student from Denmark, whom she first dislikes but later accepts, likes, and loves. Paige takes Eddie to her home for the Thanksgiving weekend. Paparazzi find and photograph the couple, and Paige learns that Eddie is truly Crown Prince Edvard. Failing health causes King Haraald to abdicate in favor of Edvard, so Eddie returns to Copenhagen, then Paige follows her heart to Copenhagen, where Edvard warmly welcomes her, takes her to the castle, and introduces her to the royal family. Queen Rosalind first expresses opposition to Paige but later relents; King Haraald soon warms to her; Edvard proposes, Paige accepts, and he gives her a ring. However, Paige recalls her previous dream of going to Doctors Without Borders, so she breaks off and returns to school. Still, though, Edvard shows up at Paige's graduation and suggests an alternate plan. Written by
Roger Ebert actually gave "The Prince and Me" zero stars which seems a little harsh, as it does have a few universally enjoyable scenes and decent performances from almost the entire cast. Unfortunately they are saddled with a somewhat weak and completely predictable screenplay, and a premise that has been used and reused.
Ebert compares it unfavorably with "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton" where the same type of small town girl wins a date with a big Hollywood star, who then falls in love with her freshness and sincerity. She begins to struggle with the tedious real-life demands of what she thought would be a glamorous life. Others compare it to 1954's "The Student Prince" and its 1997 television remake, although not unfavorably as both productions are considered barely competent. I think it is most like "Coming to America", although it does not capture the humor and social commentary of that film. I'm sure that the producers of "The Prince and Me" drew considerable inspiration from the box office popularity of "Coming to America. Unfortunately they failed to follow its example and create a fictional monarchy, choosing instead to subject Denmark to the indignity of this silly story.
The story obviously satisfies some basic yearning in the human psyche, or at least the teenage female psyche. The most interesting thing about "The Prince and Me" is the inspired way they successfully expanded their target audience to include pre-teen girls. By casting Eliza Bennett (with apologies to Jane Austen) as the Prince's adoring little sister, Princess Arabella, they created a nice fantasy for this younger demographic. To her credit, Eliza brings a lot of much needed charm to the production.
The physical casting of the two leads is very good. Julia Stiles does not exude a lot of sensuality but fits the role of a brainy American college student, with ambitions to become a doctor. That Stiles is convincing as a smart and serious young woman helps convince us when the Queen (Miranda Richardson) is eventually won over by her prospective daughter-in- law. Their changing relationship is the one plot element that you don't entirely see coming. And Luke Mably fits Americas idea of a young prince, looking much like those Windsor boys. While the pairings of Prince and little sister and of Queen and future Queen work exceptionally well, the Stiles-Mably relationship has no chemistry and seems terribly forced. So one just has to go with it and enjoy the other elements of the film.
Once the story moves to Copenhagen it gets better as they do a good job of presenting the entire experience from the point of view of Paige Morgan (Stiles). With this it actually improves on "Coming to America" and becomes much more like "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton".
This is one of those films where you can see every single plot development from a million miles away. Although that will make very little difference to it's target audience, others will find it makes much of the film a yawn-fest.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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