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I absolutely adore this movie. So, it might not have won an Oscar and it may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but then again, it didn't try to be, either. "The Prince and Me" is everything a good movie should be. It's cute, funny, easy to watch, enjoyable, it doesn't resort to swearing, violence, or sex, and it's not pompous, presumptuous, or didactic. It IS happy, uplifting, creative, funny, cute, modern, and overall completely enjoyable. I think it's silly that this movie is called "a Cinderella story" by many. Just because a girl (unknowingly) meets a European Prince doesn't mean the girl's going to be Cinderella. In fact, the main character, Paige, is a modern, ambitious, typical middle-class American college girl with dreams of being a doctor. She's a hard worker and we get the impression she's never had a serious relationship because she doesn't want to get "distracted" like her friends, who all seem to be falling in love and getting married. Paige is obviously the focused, studious one in her group of friends. Meanwhile, her life couldn't be much more different than the life of the young Danish Prince Edward (who is fictional, by the way; this movie doesn't pretend to be a documentary). The playboy Prince is immature and unfocused and resistant to his royal destiny, preferring to race cars in the streets of Copenhagen and make the headlines of tabloids. In the hopes of finding a fun, carefree life with crazy college girls in America, he decides to be an exchange student in Wisconsin at the university that Paige also happens to attend. The story unfolds from here, as Paige learns that chemistry isn't just something that you learn in a classroom, and as Prince Edward learns the meaning of hard work, responsibility, and how to be an ordinary college student with a personal egg poacher. Ultimately they both learn the meaning of true love. However, don't expect a sugary sweet fairy tale story: while it is sweet, the story has many modern twists and plenty of humour thrown in for good measure (Scotty the roommate and Soren the butler/caretaker are, quite simply, hilarious). Overall, this is a smart movie, well thought out, well planned, and completely enjoyable. I loved how this movie was a college student romance. Too often with romance movies we're left with are either 20-something urbanite stories or silly high school romances. I loved the one-liners, irony, surprises, and humour in this movie and I highly recommend it as a perfect Friday night movie rental. Don't get tripped up in the irrelevant details (apparently it was a really warm Thanksgiving in Wisconsin, and yeah, the Danish prince has impeccable English, and the technicalities of the Danish government aren't exactly followed to a "t")... but this is a movie to be enjoyed and not overly analyzed. It strikes a perfect balance between just being realistic enough with being a fun, modern, sweet, relatively carefree romance.
How many romantic films exist where the principal couple has not
experienced their first kiss until one hour into the story? "The Prince
& Me" is one rare example of such a film, and I admired the careful
development of the main relationship, as performed by the likable Julia
Stiles and Luke Mably.
Above all, I admired the focus on courtship, a concept that is arguably a dying breed in our culture today. In fact, I cannot recall a film where there was so little emphasis on sex and so many carefully developed scenes where we see emotional chemistry building between the main characters, Paige Morgan, a young pre-med student in Wisconsin, and the Danish prince Edward who calls himself Eddie.
"The Prince & Me" brings back the old-style Hollywood romances. In fact, I kept thinking of the wonderful picture "The Swan" featuring the luminous Grace Kelly, the dour Alec Guinness, and the dashing Louis Jourdan. Although "The Prince & Me" may not merit the status of a classic romance like "The Swan," it was nonetheless a breath of film-going fresh air among so many cynical films dealing with contemporary relationships. There was a nice touch with the pacing of the film and the close-ups provided by director Martha Coolidge. The scenes shot in Denmark were splendid and added an aura of magic to the main love relationship.
According to her IMDb biography, Julia Stiles has been an English major at Columbia in addition to juggling an impressive acting career. The scenes in "The Prince & Me" set at the University of Wisconsin, Manitowac provided a convincing portrayal of academic life, especially the coaching session in Shakespeare. The realism in the routine activities at college helped to make the story as a whole convincing and evoked the feeling that a relationship like that of Paige and Eddie might really exist.
This film is a rather light and enjoyable trifle and it does have a
very fine performance from Julia Stiles, some very pretty scenery
(Prague standing in for Copenhagen), and Miranda Richardson (as the
There is a certain irony to the whole film given that the real Crown Prince of Denmark, HKH Kronprins Frederik, married a commoner from a far flung place...in fact my home country Australia in 2004. (Which has resulted in every Australian becoming an expert on Danish royalty!)
But back to the film ...the girl meets boy, girl hates boy, boy falls for girl, girl falls for boy, is as old a story as there is but the film does manage to tell its story with some refreshing touches. Paige's girlfriends are a great collection and the the Prince's valet is very funny.
By no means a great film but enjoyable way to waste two hours.
But just don't expect to learn anything about modern monarchy in Denmark!!!
"The Prince & Me" is likely to be skewered by critics for being entirely predictable. Meet Paige. Pre-med student who has ambitions of seeing the world with Doctors Without Borders. Meet Edvard. Danish crown prince who wants to go to America, Wisconsin particularly, because he sees one of those "Girls of Wisconsin" videos. He enrolls at Paige's school as an exchange student named "Eddie". He's incognito because he wants to avoid the papparazzi. Do you think he'll get along with Paige at first? Think they'll fall for each other? Think the fairytale romance won't blossom? If you doubt any of this, then you A) have been living under a rock B) have never seen a romantic comedy in your life. "The Prince & Me", which I was dragged off to see by my girlfriend, *is* that predictable. There's hardly a plot twist in sight. Everything happens according to the book. Girl meets prince in disguise. Girl falls for prince. Prince reveals identity. Girl gets mad. Girl realizes she loves prince. Goes off to neverland to marry prince. Etc., etc.
But I figured if I could stay awake through this movie (and I did) it had to have some merit. And it does.
The "Danish" royal family in this film is a thinly-veiled parody of the British royals. The old queen with the aversion to her kin marrying commoners, the playboy prince...you get the point. This part of the film adds a touch of realism to the proceedings. I kind of liked that. I've seen royalty portrayed in other movies that I've been forced to watch (eg. King Ralph, Princess Diaries) and they couldn't have been more off the mark.
There's some genuinely amusing (but not laugh-out loud) moments in the film too.
I won't spoil them for you here. But if you're a guy, and your girlfriend is begging you to see this, you might want to give it a chance.
The fact that I'm a Dane made my view towards this movie very critical.
The way Denmark and Danes are portrayed don't have any part of reality
in it, and the view on Europeans seems shallow, simple and very
caricature-like. I hope that one day even teen-movies from U.S.A. can
be a little sophisticated and subtle.
I really like Julia Stiles as an actress and I admire her talent but I simply doesn't get why she's able to participate in such a simplified film. The old-fashioned love story is kind of great, but when you have some knowledge of how Danish society actually functions you can't really appreciate this movie as you're supposed to.
Facts about Denmark: The Royal Family doesn't take part in politics and none of the members are allowed to vote at elections. The actual Danish Crown Prince, Frederik 10th, has been studying Political Science at Harvard University (92-93) without any undercover servant/nanny, can you believe that!(just kidding)
To sum up the plot itself is okay, but the superficial way of portraying Europeans is a bad habit a lot of Americans has, sorry but true. A whole lot of people seem to think that Denmark is the capital of Sweden. My point is that Europe contains several different cultures and the countries are actually easy to separate from one another.
You may look at the preview and think, "Great, they just basically
ruined the ending for me." which is what I though when I saw it.
However, I took a chance renting it, because I figured it would be an
entertaining way to pass the time. I was right. I not only found it
entertaining, but by the end, as corny is it may sound for a film like
this, it did leave me guessing a little as to what would happen.
Although I don't usually care for Julia Stiles, I found her to be delightful in this piece, and the right person to play the part. The role of the handsome Scandanavian Prince, was also correctly casted, and was a heartthrob a minute. The two actors worked very well together, and I very much enjoyed the film, finding it sweet, romantic and just enough of light and heavy to balance it out nicely.
Ovearll it's a film that certainly wouldn't have been nominated for any big awards, but it's cute, and in the end a pretty predictable film. I recommend it to the ones out there who like the Cinderella-ish stories. It's kind of like that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had no expectations when I rented this for my daughter, but am
admittedly a Stiles fan. I got hooked, I think because Stiles and Mably
are collectively captivating actors - they really connected - and
because the filmmakers went to great lengths to make this movie
visually lush. The attempt to flesh out the fantasy a little more
realistically also made it more interesting - what IF x really happened
. . . then what WOULD she do? how WOULD people respond, and so on,
instead of just sacrificing interesting smaller detail for shallow
formulaic sequences like most of these movies do.
Spoiler Warning (next two paragraphs) - only references to (not excerpts from) maker's commentaries/interviews: The special collector's edition's special features includes being able to watch the whole film again with the director's comments and so much of what she has to say enhances the film. She makes me proud of women's filmmaker's efforts, especially in the production of popular films, with female central characters, aimed at younger viewers. I hope people hear what she has to say and let their children see this and draw their own conclusions. The makers also illustrate what incredible obstacles have to be constantly overcome to make a film both in the U.S. and overseas.
I have great respect for the comments by Danes & other Europeans about this film - those should rise to the top. American cultural hegemony and the havoc it wreaks just has to be gradually torn asunder . . . American artists portraying non-American's should solicit active and significant participation from those in the group being portrayed - this would go a long way toward having a broader and more accurate lense. It should be added that the filmmakers DID at least go to the effort to film a lot of the film in Europe, to learn about European royalty, to respect Architectural traditions . . . it sounds like they could have done a much more accurate job in terms of Danish society, royalty and government, but I think this effort was a step in the right direction toward a somewhat less Ameri-centric American-made popular film.
This movie's makers should get credit mostly for making something earnestly charismatic that is also an important "baby step" in more socially valuable mainstream film.
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.
As transparent as it is absurd, "The Prince and Me" is nothing more than a regurgitation of the classic royalty-or-famous-person-meets--unsuspecting-commoner-and-they-fall-in-love- and-live-happily-ever-after fairytale that has been passed down from generation to generation. But thanks to the charms of the established young actress, Julia Stiles, and the new up and coming Brit, Luke Mably, mixed with the somehow amusing screenplay by the writers of the soon to come Kate Hudson picture "Raising Helen", "The Prince and Me," succeeds in its genre.
Set in Wisconsin, Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a driven pre-med student who is determined not to be weighed down by a careless romance, and Prince Edward (Luke Mably) of Denmark is the restless king to be who is avoiding royal responsibility to be a rebellious college kid in the States. Despite his odd, self absorbed manner, and trailing assistant, nobody seems to guess his true identity, and Paige believes he is a foreign exchange student. The magnetism between Stiles and Mably cannot be denied, and when their two opposite characters attract, there are definitely fireworks. The cat and mouse chase exposition is much more interesting than the over the top finale, but it helps develop the story so you are still paying attention at the end.
And of course, Paige teaches Eddie about love and work ethic, while Eddie teaches Paige about poetry and the pains and pleasures of wealth and privilege. This dull, predictable, and recycled premise has been used many a time because with the right stars and right lighting, it easily reminds the audience of the innocence, joy, and surprises that are found in love. And that is truly the greatest story ever told, so why not tell it over and over and over and over again? Thus, an enjoyable cinema experience is practically guaranteed if you put the idea in capable hands.
Modest humor and sincere characters bring the story to life. The glimpse into Denmark royalty is intriguing and believable, and the film's characters are impossible to dislike. Stiles and Mably give equally thorough performances and I wouldn't mind seeing them pair up again for a more thought-provoking project.
Since the dialogue was satisfying, it is surprising the script at large wasn't a bit more realistic or original. But I assume that wasn't the aim, and am in a forgiving mood today.
In fact, I am glad that "The Prince and Me" didn't attempt to venture into more dramatic territory, for that would be unnecessary, and merely pretentious. Director Martha Coolige knows what "The Prince and Me" is and she doesn't try to make it anything more, so it stays on track with an obvious and clear goal in mind.
"The Prince and Me" won't change or challenge you, but it just may uplift you for the movie's duration plus two or three, maybe even five, minutes afterward, so why not pay the five to eight bucks? But if you seek more than temporary well wrapped candy, hunker in on the two leads or just avoid the picture completely.
In this teen romance, a Wisconsin student studying to be a doctor
(Stiles) falls in love with the crown prince of Denmark (Luke Mably),
putting her career plans into question and forcing her to decide
between being a doctor and having a life as royalty.
I didn't have any desire to see this but my girlfriend wanted to watch it so we did. I thought it was going to at least be tolerable because of two reasons. First, Julia Stiles is actually a decent actress. The other reason is because of Martha Coolidge. She has made some pretty entertaining films in the past. Unfortunately, it wasn't very good. The story is stale and predictable. There are no surprises and it was kind of pointless to recycle such an old story and do nothing new with it. The film's biggest problem is the running time. 111 minutes isn't really that long but for a film like this it is. It could have been short and painless like most films from the same genre but instead it was long and dull.
For some reason Martha Coolidge wanted to run scenes longer than they needed to be. The film takes forever to get to obvious places and a lot of it could have been edited. The acting is surprisingly bland. The characters are likable just not very interesting. Julia Stiles disappointed me with her performance. She just wasn't believable enough and I don't think she's pretty enough to really pull off the role. Luke Malby gives an okay performance, nothing special. Unlike the best romantic comedies I have seen, the supporting cast is very weak. Usually if the leads are weak then the supporting cast can make up for it. If anything, they are actually weaker then the two lead
The film wasn't completely bad though. There were a few funny moments and the romance did work sometimes. The film was also pretty harmless so there was nothing to really hate. Compared to recent chick flicks, The Prince and Me is better than Chasing Liberty but not as good as Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. The film was just too average and generic to truly stand out. In the end, unless you're a fan of Julia Stiles you should probably just skip this forgettable chick flick. Rating 5/10
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