Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) drives a big ol' pickup truck. And like the bit of dress that gets stuck in the door, the viewer of "The Prince and Me" will feel just a little stuck watching this modern-day Cinderella story.
This frothy romantic comedy tells the story of Paige and Edvard (Luke Mably), the Crown Prince of Denmark, who's come to the University of Wisconsin for a little time off from his royal responsibilities. And, as expected, the two are as different as, well, Wisconsin and Denmark.
Paige drives the afore-mentioned pickup truck. Playboy Edvard (who becomes Eddie in America) drives a revved-up BMW. Paige, a pre-med student, studies test tubes and textbooks, while Eddie studies how to have a good time. Paige surrounds herself with a bevy of like-minded girlfriends; Eddie's only companion is his royal aide who whips up Eggs Benedict on a hot plate.
While in Wisconsin, he meets brainy Paige at a campus hangout, where he disgusts her with demeaning comments. But after apologizing for his lack of brains, he falls for her and becomes her lab partner, her coworker and her guest at her family's Thanksgiving dinner, where Paige finds that she's falling for him. Back at school, Paige and Eddie continue to fall in love until they are outed by paparazzi at the library. The movie then quickly shifts to Denmark, where Paige struggles with the choice of a royal life as queen or her hopes and dreams of medical school.
Julia Stiles is one of this movie's few redeeming points. Stiles is a charming actress who lends grace and wit to any role she plays. However, like the butterfly she keeps under a glass dome, Stiles seems trapped with a character that can be pouty, obnoxious and tiresome.
Mably does his best with his pampered and cultured character. He is cute and gets some laughs from his lack of real-life knowledge. But I also grew tired of his character, who seemed shallow, even by the end of the film, when he is supposed to have "grown up."
British actors James Fox and Miranda Richardson play Eddie's parents, the King and Queen of Denmark. Although they add style, all they really have to do is stand around looking royal. Richardson shows a bit of spark when she takes Paige down into the bowels of the castle to the royal jewel safe. Jewels, she says, are one of the best reasons to be queen.
Another character that gives the movie a bit of snap is Eddie's aide, Soren, played with straight-faced comedy by Ben Miller. Soren is a sympathetic character who must follow his royal charge to a place he has no desire to go. He gamely tries to fit in, wearing a preppy sweater to the student union and making do with a hot plate and mini ironing board. His best moment comes, however, when he allows himself to go scruffy and wild-eyed playing a roommate's X-box video game machine.
I did enjoy this movie, although it was terribly predictable and unrealistic. (Case in point: the Danish castle exterior shots were really shot in Prague.) The movie was shot in clean jewel tones and feels very "pretty." It's a pleasant, predictable fairy tale that promotes the ever-popular moral: "Be true to yourself and everything will come out right." It is as frothy and light as the dress Paige wears to the coronation ball.
"The Prince and Me"
Rated PG for some sex-related material and language
Starring: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably, Ben Miller, James Fox, Miranda Richardson
Directed by: Martha Coolidge
Length: One hour 51 minutes
Now playing at: Astoria Gateway Cinemas, Cannes Cinema in Seaside and Neptune Twin Theatres in Long Beach, Wash.
Short take: This frothy romantic comedy about a college senior and her real live prince of a boyfriend is a pleasant, predictable afternoon diversion.
Rating: Two stars (out of four)