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PRINCE AND ME, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a pre-med student from Wisconsin, intent on working to achieve her dreams. Edward (Luke Mably), the Crown Prince of Denmark, is rebelling against the life that he is destined to lead but hasn't chosen. His parents, the King (Edward Fox) and Queen (Miranda Richardson) are dismayed when Edward decides to go to Winsconsin 'to find himself', and send his personal secretary Soren (Ben Miller) to keep an eye on him. When Paige meets Eddie..... life takes a different turn.

Review by Louise Keller:
I'm an unabashed romantic, and am quite partial to the occasional fairy tale. Never mind if it's predictable, formulaic and even if there's not much connection to reality. But if the script is outright dull and you really don't care about the characters, even a fairy tale can lack magic.

No doubt inspired by the real-life romance of the Danish Prince and the 'more Danish than the Danes' Mary from Tasmania, the notion of becoming a princess has always had its appeal - on screen or otherwise. What impressionable young girl hasn't dreamed of becoming Princess Diana, Princess Grace of Monaco, or watched Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, or even put herself in the shoes of Eddie Murphy's choice in Coming to America?

Thanks to Julia Stiles, The Prince and Me is not without its charms, but there's little that's fresh to this Cinderella story. The trouble is that we don't believe any of it - the helpless playboy prince having his eggs benedict cooked for him in his cramped student quarters by his personal secretary; Paige explaining to Edward how to use a washing machine; Edward galloping on horseback to the doors of Parliament House and then running at full pace through the sitting house to open the session.....

Imagination and flair is what is needed to rescue the script. On paper, it might sound amusing for the Crown Prince of Denmark to be inspired to head for Wisconsin after watching a raunchy television commercial, where big breasted girls take their tops off when asked. When he spies Paige pulling beers at the local watering hole for university students and suggests she takes her top off, needless to say, the response is not what he expects.

It's credit to Stiles that she makes Paige such an appealing character, especially when the lines the script demands are so trite. And although Luke Mably (28 Days Later) physically fits the bill as the spoilt heir to the throne, he is never convincing enough to make us believe his plight; despite the fact that Eddy and Paige spend much of their time in chemistry class, there's little chemistry between them. My favourite character is Ben Miller's amusing and obliging assistant/body-guard Soren, the go-between who bridges the formalities of the Palace and the laissez-faire relaxed life-style in Wisconsin. Most of the funny lines and droll moments are in his company. Edward Fox is well cast as the ailing Danish King, but bad direction allows Miranda Richardson's strong-willed Queen to be overtaken by her strong Danish accent, which is at odds with Fox and Mably's plum-in-mouth 'more English than English' English.

The Prague settings (doubling for Denmark) are beautiful, as are the splendid Chateaux used to represent the palace. Plus, the discerning will want to look out for the Harry Winston jewellery that is on display and some lovely gowns. But The Prince and Me is ultimately a rather unsatisfying film. What a pity. It needn't have been that way.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

PRINCE AND ME, THE (PG)
(US)

CAST: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson, Eliza Bennett, Alberta Watson, John Bourgeois

PRODUCER: Mark Amin

DIRECTOR: Martha Coolidge

SCRIPT: Jack Amiel, Michael Begler, Katherine Fugate (story by Mark Amin, Katherine Fugate)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alex Nepomniaschy

EDITOR: Steven Cohen, Audrey Evans

MUSIC: Jennie Muskett

PRODUCTION DESIGN: James H. Spencer

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 24, 2004

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: November 24, 2004







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