April 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 98  

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Prince of thieves
Stiles’ film steals your time

The Prince and Me
Starring: Julia Stiles, Luke Mably
Directed by: Martha Coolidge

By Claire Neary
Gazette Writer

Movie Web 2004
THE ONLY RIDING IN THE PRINCE AND ME IS PG-13. However, this horse would be better suited to ride this romantic comedy (minus the comedy) right off the silver screen.

Although The Prince and Me will inevitably be categorized as a “teen romantic comedy,” the director forgot one important thing: romantic comedies are supposed to be funny!

This movie is a perfect example of how a formulaic romantic comedy can go wrong. The characters are shallow, the dialogue is painful and it’s about an hour too long. And the film’s constant endorsement of Pepsi products sticks out like an incredibly annoying sore thumb.

The entire premise of the film can be understood from the trailer, but for the fortunate enough not to have seen it, here’s a brief summary.

Paige Morgan (Stiles) is a hard working pre-med student attending the University of Wisconsin. While her friends are off getting married, getting drunk and having sex in the school library, Paige wants to go to Johns Hopkins University and join Doctors Without Borders. OK, so here’s a character university students should be able to relate to.

Unfortunately, Paige’s one-dimensional character is developed through uninspired dialogue and generic scenes of university life. Instead of revealing characters through interesting or funny events, The Prince and Me insults the intelligence of the audience by over-explaining everything with obvious, bland dialogue.

In the first scene, we watch Paige rush to her friend’s wedding, only to discover her only single friend is now wearing an engagement ring. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

In another scene, she talks to her mom about how she doesn’t want to fall in love because it might distract her from her studies. Poor Paige. She obviously hasn’t seen enough generic romantic comedies to know that true love conquers all — even university Shakespeare exams.

Enter gorgeous Edward (Mably), the rebellious Crown Prince of Denmark, to stir things up in Paige’s life. Tired of having his whole life planned out by his parents, poor, spoiled little Edward (who mysteriously has a British accent) decides to take off to Wisconsin and change his name to Eddie for a taste of college life.

The two meet at the bar where Paige works, and in one of the few marginally funny scenes, she sprays Eddie with a bar hose to ward off his drunken advances. As the two get to know each other in organic chemistry class (get it? They have chemistry!), Paige tries to hate Eddie until he slowly — painstakingly slowly — wins her over with his boyish good looks and rebellious princely charms.

Unfortunately, neither Paige, nor Eddie, is particularly likable. Paige is a geeky farm girl who needs to get out more, and Eddie is as shallow as he is irritating. Stiles does a good job of blushing and acting independent, and Mably sure looks good without his shirt on, but the script is doomed from the beginning. Even characters who obviously have the potential to provide comic relief, such as Eddie’s butler Soren and his fat, X-Box-playing roommate, just aren’t funny.

Will Paige become Eddie’s Queen in Denmark, and give up her dreams of becoming a doctor? Do you care? At two long hours, chances are slim you’ll even be awake to find out.



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