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A high-school bookworm transforms into a swan. Brainy Casey Carlyle has never quite fit in. Caught between her fantasy of becoming a championship figure skater and her strong-willed mother, who has her on the fast track to Harvard, she can only hope to be like Nikki, Tiffany and Gen--three elite skating prodigies who are ruthlessly competing on the US National circuit (and have attitudes to match). But when Casey gets the chance to train with Gen and her coach, a disgraced former skating champion who also happens to be Gen's mother, she must dash her own mother's hopes in order to pursue her dream. Now, with only the support of Gen's teenage brother, a hunky Zamboni driver, Casey takes on the challenge of her life when she finds herself competing against the best to make it into the championship circuit and become a real "ice princess." Written by
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A Warmly Human Little Story About Following Your Dream
ICE PRINCESS is not the kind of movie to which this reviewer is usually
attracted - the trappings indicate that we are in for a happy-wappy,
sterilized, PG, Disney candy box. But, surprise!, here is a film that
is better than its package. Writers Meg Cabot and Hadley Davis have
combined the sport of ice skating with the drama of teenage angst and
come up with a credible tale of a 'science geek' discovering her talent
and following her dream of figure skating.
Director Tim Fywell knows his way around the ice rink and the halls and
lockers of high school kids and his preparation for the film is
apparent. Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a fine student who is
encouraged by her physics professor to find a project that incorporates
her personality along with physics that will assist her in gaining a
scholarship to Harvard. Casey's mother (Joan Cusack) is a pragmatist, a
schoolteacher who wants Casey to succeed beyond the mother's status.
Casey loves to skate on their home pond, but one day happens into a
private skating rink class owned by one-time star skater Tina (Kim
Cattrall), a place where Tina relentlessly drives her daughter Gen
(Hayden Panettiere) toward winning prizes. Tina's son Teddy (Trevor
Blumas - a much underused handsome actor) is always around to keep the
ice surfaces smooth with his machine.
Casey observes the brilliance of fine skating, thinks of a way to
analyze moves on her computer that will diagnose aerodynamic physics
aspects of skating, and once that is perfected, and she is able to aid
the skaters with her scientific knowledge, she personalizes her
theories. Before long has won a place along with the other aspiring
skaters. She encounters resistance from her mother, encouragement from
Tina, and friendship from Gen and her fellow skaters as well as the eye
of Teddy! When Casey has her Harvard interview, she admits that her
real love is for skating, not physics, and commits to pursuing that
love full time. The rest is predictable: all's well that end's well.
What sets this little film apart is the quality of acting from
Trachtenberg, Cattrall, Cusack and Blumas: they create characters about
whom we care. The skating is fun to watch, and the 'sitting in the
bleachers rooting for the good guys' feeling is refreshing. This is not
a great film but certainly one of the best of this genre. It is most
definitely a 'feel good' popcorn movie! Grady Harp
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