Satirical Shallow

The Prince & Me & not Us

fridaymovie_theprinceandme.jpgAfter due diligence on the part of our friend Sharon in the P.R. department at Paramount Pictures, we at low culture were once again given access to the media goodie bag and allowed to see a pre-release screening of Julia Stiles’ latest film, “The Prince & Me.”
It’s a good thing, too, because we were part of the flock of fans who showed that we “could do it, put your back into it” when we watched this beautiful young Columbia University undergrad take on the mantle of interracial love — and interracial dancing — when she charmingly swept America off its feet in 2001’s “Save the Last Dance.” Well, she’s back, and this time, she’s traded in Ice Cube’s lyricism and the concomitant “street cred” for Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s cool, calm, and collected flirtation with royalty.
First-time helmer Martha Coolidge‘s compelling narrative loosely concerns the trials and tribulations of an average American girl’s behavior when she’s forced to choose between her deeply-embedded principles and that most elusive of sentiments, true love. Of course, this is all “fancy-talk” for saying that she has to choose between a crush on her favorite boy, and the fact that he lied to her by not letting her in on the fact that he was an heir to the throne of Denmark (and yes, there are more than enough self-referential Hamlet jokes sprinkled throughout the film for all you fans of both classic Shakespeare and youth-oriented films).
Stiles takes on the role of college student Paige Morgan with much aplomb, and her experience as an actress shines through on her initial scenes with the young Prinze (who far outshines Eddie Murphy’s rendition in the original film) when they meet at a Greenpeace rally on the steps of the school’s library. It turns out that the Prinze has more than just a passing interest in environmental regulation, though, because he sweeps Paige off her feet with his passionate rhetoric regarding the damage caused by oil spills in the Baltic Sea. Paige, of course, passes off this worldliness as a part of his exchange-student persona, but quickly falls in love with his debonair presence and the humanizingly endearing way he quirkily drops the T’s and W’s from his words when speaking aloud, as all Danes are wont to do.
But, as with all instances of true love, there’s a catch: the Prinze, through a series of escalating misunderstandings exacerbated by his two roommates’ miscommunication, had neglected to inform Paige that he was, in fact, royalty, before taking her virginity. This understandably upsets Paige a great deal, and she calls him a Danish imperialist, which only complicates things further, because the Prinze’s father is in court at the ICC at that very moment for war crimes committed against the neighboring Swedes. The Prinze is crestfallen, as he has spent his entire life modeling himself on becoming all that his father (deftly played by James Caan in a stirring cameo) stood against, including a value system that apparently rules out sleeping with girls with misshapen faces that haven’t aged well as they’ve exited their teenaged years.
The film’s winsome examination of collegiate love-with-princes strikes a heartwarming note when the audience realizes that things will, of course, work out…such is the nature of fairy tales, and such is the nature of true love.

4 replies on “The Prince & Me & not Us”

Just a small correction: Martha Coolidge is not a “first-time helmer”, having made the fabulous “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”, as well as several lesser efforts.

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