The fact that the real Crown Prince of Denmark recently married a commoner lends some winsome topicality to this sickly-sweet fantasy about a fictional Danish royal who falls for an American student. Under Martha Coolidge's bland direction, The Prince & Me will no doubt captivate romantic tweens who dream of walking down the aisle with Wills or Harry. Everyone else, though, may find themselves stifling hoots of derision as Julia Stiles' grounded farm girl is wooed and won by Luke Mably's insufferable king-in-waiting.
Imagine Roman Holiday with a gender swap and you'll have the measure of this predictable fairy-tale. 28 Days Later actor Mably is Edvard Valdemar, a playboy prince who'd rather be out racing cars and chasing chicks than preparing to rule. Against the wishes of the king (James Fox) and queen (Miranda Richardson), 'Eddie' enrols at the University of Wisconsin in the hope of adding a few more notches to his regal bedpost. Instead he meets Paige Morgan (Stiles), a pre-med swot whose saintly ambition is to practice medicine in the Third World.
"SHALLOW EXERCISE IN WISH-FULFILLMENT"
From the moment she squirts water in his face, the youthful regent is besotted. But little things - spying paparazzi, her parents, a coronation - keep getting in the way, making Paige wonder if she has what it takes to become a member of the Scandinavian monarchy.
Cut from the same threadbare cloth as The Princess Diaries and What A Girl Wants, The Prince & Me is a shallow exercise in wish-fulfilment that wants to have its royal wedding cake and eat it too. Stiles is far too intelligent and assured to convince in such cornball flotsam, while Mably's only saving grace is a cheerful eagerness to make a total ass of himself - most notably in a lawnmower race that's about as exciting as, well, mowing the lawn.