There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
There’s not much to The Prince & Me, Hollywood’s latest take on the Cinderella tale: Martha Coolidge’s heartlander-meets-well-heeled-heartthrob fable is sweet, pretty, and oh so predictable. But at least Julia Stiles and anony-Brit Luke Mably generate easy, convincing chemistry in the leads. She’s Paige Morgan, the Wisconsin-bred pre-med student whose senior-year concentration gets shattered when the work-shirking, party-hearty Eddie Dangaard is assigned as her organic-chemistry lab partner. His off-putting sense of entitlement—plus his taste for fast cars and faster women—comes from the fact that “the family business” he’s reluctant to take over is, um, the stewardship of the Danish government. We know this from the start, but Paige doesn’t catch on until tabloid photographers discover her in a compromising position with the man they address as Prince Edvard—by which time, natch, she’s discovered the noble soul inside that irresponsible shell. (He reads Shakespeare! The sonnets! While she’s teaching him to sort laundry! Actually, I have to confess the falling-in-love sequence is kinda stupidly endearing, involving as it does a Morgan family Thanksgiving, some Bardacious bonding, and a lawn-mower race.) From there, it’s just wait while Paige decides how to reconcile her Doctors Without Borders dreams with the real-life fairy tale she’s awakened in. That Coolidge and her screenwriters wrap up without a real answer isn’t as big an eye-roller as their utter indifference, once Paige hops a flight to Copenhagen, to anything like a realistic portrait of a commoner out of her depth at the castle. Still, Stiles can do smart ’n’ sexy without seeming to work too hard at it, Mably is nicely (if blandly) easy on the eyes, and Coolidge and cinematographer Alex Nepomniaschy package Paige’s preposterous adventures very pleasantly indeed. Not that it all adds up to substance, exactly. But it is just enough of something that, aside from the digitally rendered butterflies, you’ll be inclined to let the silliness pass without protest. —Trey Graham