The Prince and Me (8/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
It’s not true that
I like every romantic comedy that comes down the pike. I detested last
year’s Down With Love. The Prince and Me, however, fits nicely
into the first category, the ones I like.
Paige Morgan (Julia
Stiles) is a farm-raised, highly motivated college senior at Wisconsin,
on the fast track to Medical School. Prince Edward, or Eddie (Luke
Mably), is a spoiled, pleasure-seeking Crown Prince of Denmark, heir to
the Danish thrown. Eddie has run through all the girls in Denmark, so he
sees a soft porn video of college girls in Wisconsin flashing their
breasts and dashes off to become a student, with his faithful equerry,
Soren (Ben Miller), in tow.
There he meets
Paige. Sparks fly and both of their lives change.
This is well written
(the team of Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, and story creator
Katherine Fugate), well directed (Martha Coolidge) and well acted by
everyone in the cast. While it could have been truly dopey, the
intelligent script keeps the characters as true to life as possible.
Mably is exceptional as Prince Eddie. He’s arrogant, demands obedience
and fealty, and acts as if he’s to the throne born, which he is.
Stiles is a feisty, attractive coed (which is what she is in real life,
an English lit major at Columbia). Consistent with their performances,
Ben Miller adds mightily to the final product as the richly comedic
wouldn’t be doing my job as a critic if I failed to point out that
while the filmmakers seemed to have done their research in creating the
Danish Royal Court, when Paige is attending her first formal dinner at
the Palace, the food servers serve from the right. Unless things are
done differently in Europe, the correct way is that dishes are always
presented at the left of the person served. Such a faux pas at a formal
dinner with the King (James Fox) and Queen (Miranda Richardson) present
would be inconceivable. One might even go so far as to say that not
serving from the left would be gauche.
other parts of the film that were less than perfect involve Paige’s
relationships with her collegiate girlfriends. In a scene at the
beginning of the film where Paige and her friends are sitting in the
local hangout, their conversation is disconcertingly contrived. Similar
forced conviviality occurred in last year’s Mona Lisa Smile, and
the group conviviating included the same Julia Stiles, raising the
question as to whether it’s bad acting or bad writing. This labored
friendship pops up occasionally throughout the film as Paige’s girl
friends encourage her romance with Eddie. These scenes are unrealistic,
rob the story of its pace, and weaken what is an entertaining film.
locations add to the enjoyment of the film. Several palaces were used,
The Valtice Chateau, Ploskovice Castle, and Libochovice Castle, as well
as Prague’s Strahov Monastery, in addition to locations in and around
Prague. The cinematography (Alex Nepomniaschy) is gorgeous.
This is a funny,
entertaining romantic comedy.
April 3, 2004