Cast: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson, Alberta Watson, John Bourgeois, Eliza Bennett
Director: Martha Coolidge
Running Time: 111 Minutes
This Fairy Tale Is About To Get Real
Paige, a pre-med student from Wisconsin, is on the fast track toward her lifelong goals. Edward, the Crown Prince of Denmark, is trying to escape a life he never chose. Needing and escape from his royal life, Edward treks to Wisconsin and poses as 'Eddie', a college student. Now they've fallen in love and Edward is in line to become king. Paige has to choose between two dreams - becoming a princess or the doctor she's always wanted to be.
'The Prince and Me' was conceived long before the commoner Mary, from Australia, married Crown Prince Fredrick, from Denmark, earlier this year. However, co-incidentally the movie really does run almost parallel to the real-life story. Paige (Julia Stiles) is a commoner - she is a farmer's daughter from Wisconsin and Prince Edward (Luke Mably) is the only son of the King of Denmark (James Fox), destined to become king himself. Edward soon tires of his playboy lifestyle - there's nothing left for him that he hasn't already tried, or so he thinks. After seeing a tv advertisement about college life in the USA he decides that perhaps there is something that he hasn't done and approaches his bewildered parents with his idea - to live and study in the USA as a student in order to "broaden his horizons". Against their better judgement, Edward's parents agree, providing he at least takes his personal secretary, Soren (Ben Miller) with him. Only after he arrives does he find that all financial support has been suspended whilst he is in the USA, which in itself brings about a total perspective for Edward - shock, horror - some students have to work to pay their way through university! Incidentally, most of the best lines in the movie are Soren's and he plays them oh so well.
Meanwhile, Paige is struggling to deal with some of her studies as she heads for a medical degree, something she has yearned for all her life. When Paige and Edward become partners in a chemistry class, there is more going on than in the textbooks. Over time, they come to realise that they have a connection that neither was actively looking for, yet neither can deny. Paige invites Edward home for Thanksgiving, back to the farm, which brings some fun moments. At the local fair, there are lawn mower races (yes, believe it, this is the USA after all) that Paige's two brothers are involved in, and Edward joins in too, using his knowledge of fast cars to modify some of the lawn mowers. Lawn mower races have to be seen to be believed.
The rest of the story pretty much follows predictably with a predictable script. Paige and Edward are spotted by the paparazzi whereupon Paige is devastated that Edward lied to her about who he really was. Edwards' father becomes ill and he is summoned to return to Denmark. Paige overcomes he anger and flees to Denmark to find Edward. They are re-united in the middle of a royal parade, riding off on the back of a horse, literally. Edward asks Paige to marry him and she says yes. End of story? Not quite.
Much attention was paid to detail especially the etiquette and authenticity. The actors who play royals all had lessons on how to behave, to sit, to talk, to move etc. There is even a delightful story regarding Luke Mably and Ben Miller going incognito into a restaurant and Miller introducing Mably as the Crown Prince of Denmark and then watching the reaction of the staff, just to see what being a royal was like in the real world. The castles of the royals are impressive and beautiful to see, but the prize for the most spectacular item in the movie is for the jewellery. The total worth of the jewellery used came to approximately $5 000 000. Not cheap by any standards! Paige's engagement ring was worth over $100 000 and there is a great episode where the Queen (Miranda Richardson) takes Paige to her private vault to ask her which set of jewellery she would like to wear to the Royal Ball. This room is any woman's dream.
The fact that 'The Prince and Me' is pretty much a formula movie, it still does reasonably ok. Yeah, sure, boy meets girl, girl hates boy, boy eventually gets girl, is what's happening here, along the way are some redeeming moments and lessons. Essentially a chick flick, there is still something here for the guys even if it is sugar coated. 'The Prince and Me' is fluffy and full of sugar and spice and all things nice but at least it's mildly entertaining along the way and it does make you wonder if there really are any royals posing amongst us commoners?
Rating : C+