Movie: The Prince & Me

Movie posterAhh, where to begin and where to end… I’ll start with a summary, then: The Prince & Me is a movie about a spoiled Danish prince moving to the US to study at a university in Wisconsin (because a TV commercial led him to believe that college girls there are “wild”), he meets local farm-girl and driven biology co-ed, romance ensues, after brief happiness reality squeezes through with troubles and responsibilities, the blushing farm-girl bride has second thoughts, but we get a happy end after all.

There’s lots of footage from grand old castles, fancy ball events, and generic royal-ness. This movie could have been OK or maybe even good. But as it turns out, this movie is utter crap.

There actually was a royal wedding in Denmark about the time this movie came out — the Danish Crown Prince Frederik married Australian girl Mary — but I’m sure that was mostly a coincidence, because from the movie and the extra material on the DVD it was pretty clear that the filmmakers had very little clue about Denmark as a country and European royalty in general. They filmed everything in Central Europe (shooting in Denmark would have been murder on their budget what with all the extras and horses, etc. in Copenhagen, the eighth most expensive city in the world), and they managed to get most things looking almost right. But their research must have been very, very bad. In the extras they mention as a prime source on all things European royalty: A girl who once used to date a European royalty. The real thing: Frederik & MaryI’m guessing they also bought some books with lots of pictures of the uniforms of the royal guard, etc. But all they managed to do was make some things look right — for example the young prince is a speed demon racing around in an expensive sports car — but they got the feel of things all wrong — when the prince has a street race, the police pretty much close down the streets of the capital so he can go and play, and a lonely policeman waits patiently in the middle of a country road holding a checkered flag… In the same vein: The prince wins the race because the (other) young playboy loses on purpose.

But those are just a couple of offhand complaints I have about this movie. Here are a bunch of pointed comments written on online message boards by Scandinavians:

It quickly becomes apparent that the Americans don’t understand the principle behind our monarchy. That we have such a prominent and respected figure who has a lot of official duties without having any real power. They just can’t process that. This results in a scene where the Prince is sitting alongside the prime minister and negotiating with the labor unions in order to prevent a strike! […] “
[Laserdisken.dk]

‘The Prince and Me’ is possibly one of the worst romantic comedies made in a long time, the story about the ‘wild Danish prince’ who falls for a commoner. The film is so brainless that even the editors of Se og Hør and Her og Nå [Jan: Danish and Norwegian tabloids] could have written this drivel…”
[User opinion at FilmMagasinet.no]

Un-charming, unromantic and un-comical. In short: Unusually bad
Denmark is a little fairytale country where we all speak English with a German accent. We have a weak king called Harald
[Jan: Harald is a traditional Norwegian royal name], a tradition bound queen called Rosalind, and we have a playboy Crown Prince called Edward, who is chased around by a gossip hungry tabloid press.
How ever could Hollywood have gotten this impression of the royal Danish house? I don’t get it!
[Jan: Sure you do, because much of what you just listed is actually spot on]
’The Prince and Me’ is unusually bad. The interaction between Julia Stiles and Luke Mably in the two main parts is un-charming, unromantic and un-comical – I could keep going… But thank you Hollywood for this silly tourist movie.

[Filmland, Denmark’s Radio]

Brainless entertainment, yes! In the movie theater in New York, where I saw the movie, nobody could see how wrong many of the aspects were! I felt like standing up and yelling: ‘Hi, I’m from Denmark – this is not how it really happens, and the rest of Denmark does not look like Nyhavn, and certainly not like Prague!’ But never mind. The film was sweet and just what we were looking for: Brainless entertainment! And I did shed a tear when Crown Prince Fred… oops, Edward says goodbye to his Mar… oops, Paige! But it did piss us off just a bit that Denmark was portrayed like a tiny insignificant country… None of the American characters in the movie had ever heard about Denmark! [Jan: He, that last bit was probably the most believable part of the whole story.]
[Viewer comment at Filmland, Denmark’s Radio]”

Two hours of movie playtime where Mrs. K and I took turns being astonished at the poor quality of everything; and then twenty minutes surfing through the DVD’s extra materials trying to answer the question: “What went wrong?“, and coming up with the non-answer that at least the movie makers thought everything was perfectly fine, and that they were impressed with themselves because they made all the Central European sets look just perfect, and within budget and all.

Favorite punchline: When I exclaimed sarcastically “And we’ve only seen 31 minutes so far!”

By the way, much (if not most) of the acting also sucked, especially from the two lead actors. Note that this wasn’t touched upon in any of the snippets above (or any number of similar comments I browsed through). The fact that the acting sucked is so insignificant for this movie overall given the glacial pace of the plot (the editors were clearly asleep at the wheel) the dozens of glaring factual inaccuracies, and all the other things that went wrong in this movie.

4 Comments to “Movie: The Prince & Me”

  1. Mary Lynn Wagner 24 March 2005 at 17:45 #

    My family and I throughly enjoyed The Prince and Me. It was refreshing to be able to be entertained without worrying about what the kids might get thrust upon their innoncent minds. Keeping in mind that this wasn’t intended to be a Danish documentary but rather a love story, we felt that the film did just what it set out to do, entertain you with a clean movie. We thought Julia and Luke made a great combo and would like to see them in other films.

  2. Jan Karlsbjerg 24 March 2005 at 20:20 #

    Interesting take on the movie, Mary Lynn.

    It sounds like you were looking for a PG TV movie of the week and you found it. But I doubt that this was the aim of the creators of this movie set out to make. Of course they didn’t set out to make a “documentary about Denmark”, as you put it, but everything in the DVD’s extra material indicates that they were going for realism in the environment and a grand, great romantic comedy. They achieved neither.

  3. Mike 28 March 2015 at 3:59 #

    Hi Jan – Comong to this post rather late, but wanted to comment on your review of this film. I agree with both you and the person who commented above. I didn’t like this film; the inaccuracies bothered me, and when a thing is well-researched, it makes the plot more enjoyable. This was poorly-researched and poorly-done by filmmaking standards as well as by historical and cultural accuracy. The story line was cute and had potential, but the background failures and direction decisions made it disappointing.

    I notice you spent a lot of your review pointing out inaccuracies in the portrayal of Denmark and Danish culture. However, you have not mentioned the many inaccuracies in the portrayal of Wisconsin’s climate and culture, and the general ridiculous inaccuracy with which the university and sandwich shop in America are portrayed. The filmmakers on this piece were not just ignorant of Denmark and Europe, but of American culture, too, so please don’t insinuate, as the post you quoted, that “all Americans” are ignorant of Europe. Rather, to these filmmakers, accuracy about *anything* seems to be unimportant. Moreover, these inconsistencies and inaccuracies DO bother Americans as well as Europeans, and Australians for that matter.

    This film was produced in the wake of the Princess Diaries, a film that also tried to be cute, but tactfully used an imaginary and obscure kingdom in the Pyrenees. With The Prince and Me, what would have been a cute film about a fictional couple, and a rather common plot that has been told and re-told, suffers by the setting of real countries inaccurately portrayed.

  4. Anonymous 3 February 2016 at 15:42 #

    More than anything I found it hilarious that all the Danish characters spoke in English to one another, in a German accent . And that the creators of the movie didn’t have any knowledge of Scandinavian royalty what so ever. The royal family does not have any executive power what so ever! They don’t get involved in the politics of the country. That is the government’s task… Yes, this was a pretty bad movie It truly exposes the ignorance of Hollywood about the rest of the world


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