The Prince & Me 2: The Royal Wedding (2006) / Romance-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for brief mild language
Running Time: 96 min.
Cast: Kam Heskin, Luke Mably, Clemency Burton-Hill, Maryam d'Abo, Jonathan Firth, Jim Holt, David Fellowes
Director: Catherine Cyran
Screenplay: Mike Marvin, Alex Matter
Review published February 25, 2006
The Prince & Me 2: The Royal Wedding follows shortly after the events of the first film, with Edvard (Mably, 28 Days Later...) and Paige (Heskin, Pride & Prejudice) just weeks away from the big day. All the preparations are proceeding according to plan, until a conniving royal named Albert (Holt) finds a centuries-old Danish law that forbids the ascension to king if the prince were to marry a non-royal, which Paige is certainly not. They all valiantly try to find a loophole in the archaic law, but come up short. Meanwhile, to "assist" in the matter, Albert offers a solution in the form of his own daughter, Princess Kirsten (Burton-Hill), a childhood friend of Edvard's that has blossomed into an attractive and graceful adult. Jealousy abounds between Paige and Kirsten, while the Danish tabloids are swarming for juicy gossip, setting forth a chain of events that, along with the ancient law, threatens to make Edvard have to choose between his kingdom and his heart.
Other than a movie reviewer, I suppose it's a safe enough assumption that the only people that might watch a film like The Prince & Me 2 are those that thoroughly enjoyed the first entry. The only trouble with that is, the more you were enchanted in the first chapter, the more you're likely to be disappointed in this straight-to-video continuation. Not being someone that cared for the original, I wasn't actually surprised at not liking this superfluous entry, but judging it on its own terms, it's not nearly as awful as other STV cash-ins that studios have dumped into video stores just to squeeze as much profit as they can off of the momentum of a name.
The only returning player from The Prince & Me is that of Luke Mably as Prince Edvard of Denmark, and one wonders if he might have been contractually obligated to reprise the role. Unfortunately, the one box office draw to the original film, Julia Stiles, would not be returning here, instead casting relative unknown Kam Heskin to take over the acting reins as Paige. Heskin is reasonably close in appearance to buy in the role, although it is clear that she is considerably older than Stiles, looking like Paige has aged about ten years between the first film and the second, when it should have only been a few months in story time. Heskin is still adequate in filling the role's shoes, but what the movie does lack without Stiles is screen presence and chemistry. Stiles has an underlying intelligence and vulnerability that could make her character much more sympathetic, and Heskin ends up being little more than an attractive equivalent of an understudy.
Although the makers of this film are clearly out to make more profit from a modestly popular first film, they should get credit for at least trying to make an interesting outing without being a complete rehash of the first entry, or worse, a semi-remake with different characters. Some might fault the makers of this film for following too closely to the plot of another "Royal" sequel in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, which features a remarkably similar premise. Regardless, truth be told, the film actually succeeds in its own modest fashion for about the first hour or so, with thoughtful plot developments and some interesting angles that elevate the story from the routine.
Sadly, it doesn't stay in this mode for long, with an especially awful final twenty minutes that undermines everything that came before with rushed pacing, needless slapstick, and corny plot developments trying to evoke a cute and happy ending for all involved. Had the makers of this second film been able to maintain the relative intelligence of the premise right up into the end, perhaps we would have an extremely rare straight-to-video sequel that might even be better than the original. The descent into sheer stupidity is so rapid and all-encompassing, it makes the movie experience even more frustrating for the viewer, as we feel cheated that we would invest our time in following something that goes completely to pot for no particular purpose.
Since The Prince & Me 2 won't please the biggest fans of the original film, it negates its only potential value for all viewers except for the insatiably curious. The Royal Wedding has its moments early on, but in the end, all we're left with is a royal headache.
©2006 Vince Leo