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:: The Prince & Me

With her sights set firmly on medical school and ambitions to administer medicine to the underprivileged, Wisconsin student Paige Morgan (Julia Stiles) doesn’t have time for distractions, especially romance. In trying to attain the right grades, she has problems when there is a need to engage her right brain. Things like Shakespeare leave her requiring extra attention.

Enter Prince Edward Valdemar Dargaard (Luke Mably) or “Eddie” as he is sometimes known. He is the crown prince of Denmark. To ease his usual boredom, he decides to spend a year at a college in America. A “Girls Gone Wild” video convinces him to go to the heartland. He ends up at Paige’s college and paired with her in the chemistry laboratory.

Paige believes that Eddie is just a stuck-up rich kid. After a while, the “opposites attract” formula works and they fall in love. As soon as the prince’s true position is revealed, he must return to Denmark to accept the throne from his ailing father. This turn of events forces Paige to choose between following her ambitions and living out a real-life fairytale as a princess.

The film will appeal to some as a fun, sentimental sort of story. Julia Stiles is very easy to empathise with and her varied moods are engaging. She is good at despising the aimless, laconic actions of Eddie, but then accommodates him as a friend, even inviting him to her home for Thanksgiving. She helps add life to a story that could have died without a whimper.

Both sides are played out - trading of the little-girl fantasy and falling in love with a handsome prince, while offering the values of independence and empowerment. This is typical of the work by director Martha Coolidge.

However, Julia Stiles’ good work doesn’t lift the film to great overall heights as a romantic comedy, despite some humorous moments. It muddles and trips up occasionally, and is ultimately weighed down by the requirements of its exhausted genre of teen romance. The film doesn’t have enough faith in its own simplicity. It teases when it should have relied on the low, simmering relationship between Paige and Eddie, plus the understated wit of Eddie’s servant Soren (Ben Miller). It’s a shame “The Prince & Me” squanders all the goodwill in its desire to be ordinary. The charm will remain for some to be won over, though.