PRINCE AND ME, THEPG
The presence of the always dependable Julia Stiles and two superb Brit actors (Miranda Richardson and sublime veteran James Fox), plus visually rich locations, render The Prince & Me painless, while the film's intended demographic of young females (teens through early 20s) will delight in this high-concept romance package replacement until a real date with Prince William comes along.
Again, as she did in Mona Lisa Smile, Stiles portrays a gifted, career-minded student torn between a coveted slot in graduate school and the prospect of a wonderful marriage. The Prince & Me ups the ante to fantasy proportions: Stiles is University of Wisconsin pre-med aspirant Paige Morgan, who dreams of acceptance at Johns Hopkins and a future with Doctors Without Borders. But it is a real prince, Prince Edvard of Denmark (Luke Mably), and not a mere Harvard grad, who gives her second thoughts.
Heir-to-the-throne Edvard is introduced as a not-so-serious hunk who loves to race his BMG through the Copenhagen streets and watch TV shows on the order of "Girls Gone Wild." Edvard happens to capture an episode that has University of Wisconsin co-eds baring their breasts and decides that Wisconsin is where he will take a break from his royal duties and experience real life. His regal parents Queen Rosalind (Miranda Richardson) and King Haraald (James Fox) reluctantly approve as long as manservant Soren (Ben Miller) accompanies him.
Meanwhile, in a cross-cutting set-up learned in Filmmaking 101, Paige prepares for her last year of undergraduate school at Wisconsin and doesn't seem bothered that she is the last in her clique to get married. Paige also tools around in the pickup truck that belongs to her dairy-farm family.
The filmmakers, not bothering with a clever spin on the meet-cute aspect of such movie romances, bring together Paige and Edvard, now known by his stateside name Eddie, at a college hangout/restaurant where Paige works. He insults her by assuming she will flash her breasts, but they reach a dtente when they find they are lab partners in organic chemistry. Their attraction grows as Eddie helps Paige with her Shakespeare and she teaches Eddie, who takes a restaurant job to get close to her, how to use a meat slicer and do laundry.
Eddie manages to keep his royal secret, even though the very punctilious Soren is always around, even sharing his dorm room with a video-game-obsessed roommate. In one of the film's few amusing twists, Soren, too, becomes a game freak.
As the attraction between Paige and Eddie grows, she brings him home to her typical American family for Thanksgiving. He fits in perfectly, even to the point of milking cows and winning a real down-home lawnmower race. But Eddie is finally busted as Edvard when paparazzi catch the Prince and the med student necking in the library stacks. The Prince returns to Denmark and Paige follows. With the King's health declining, Edvard is set to replace him and Paige prepares for life as a queen. There are setbacks and reverses (the Queen can be a bitch) and adapting to life as a royal is a challenge, in spite of castle comforts and a plenitude of jewels that blind the eyes. But the proverbial happy ending is never in doubt.
As pleasing as The Prince & Me can be, director Martha Coolidge's film delivers nothing to advance the genre.