Prince Charming (2001)

Reviewer: Stephanie Vale

   

An extreme disappointment is the best way to describe this recent Hallmark film. The story begins in Medieval England in the time of kings and castles. Two neighboring kingdoms are seeking to end a long feud by marrying their son and daughter. The problem: Prince John of Anwyn (Sean Maguire) is known for his many extramarital indiscretions, and when he commits one right before his upcoming marriage to Princess Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), Prince John and his squire Rodney (played by Martin Short) are turned into frogs (called a "frogging," by a famous wizard's curse); until the prince finds true love, (by convincing a maiden to kiss him, and then to marry him), they will remain frogs for all eternity.

Fast forward to 21st century Manhattan, 500 years later: Prince John and Rodney are still frogs, eking out a survival on insects and living in a pond (a mishap has led them to Central Park in Manhattan from England). One "lucky" day, they happen upon a woman and her "live-in" boyfriend arguing, and she picks up frog Prince John and, proving a point in her argument, gives him a kiss. Prince John and Rodney are then magically transformed back into men, where they now have until the next full moon (only a short time away) to find this woman (Margo Stockard, played by Bernadette Peters) and convince her to marry Prince John before they are both turned back into frogs for forever.

 

Margo is an actor on Broadway, and she and her boyfriend Hamish (Billy Connolly) are preparing for an upcoming play. Prince John and Rodney then come across Kate Russell (again played by Christina Applegate) who drives a horse-drawn buggy for hire; the two hire her to take them "to the nearest castle" and later, to help them find Margo. After a few "charming" moments intended to reason out why Kate is falling for (bad boy turned good)"Prince" John, including: a swordfight, his capture of a bicycle thief, and his newfound "respect" for women, the story is brought to the point where "Prince Charming" must decide between his true love Kate, and the "frogging" curse, which tells him he must choose and marry Margo or become a frog again for all eternity.

Prince John is quite the ladies man, sleeping with maids and wenches alike: the movie begins with the supposed "Prince Charming" in a tavern, where he speaks with his squire, and then ends up leaving with a woman. The scene cuts to the morning after, with the two still abed and the king coming. A few scenes later, Prince John is again, doing things he shouldn't, as he rescues a woman from some soldiers, and then proceeds to sleep with her in the bell tower (as we assume from the ringing of the bell, and the sounds she makes) with his bride-to-be and her royal parents awaiting him below. There is also an abuse of deity or two; they refer to a donkey as an "a*s" a few times, mention of "keeping score" in reference to having sex with many women, a thief attempting to steal a woman's bike; a swordfight between two men; some spells, potions, curses, and witchcraft and wizardry (although fairly mild as movies go); and a woman who attempts to seduce a young man.

 

All in all, I was very disappointed in this newest Hallmark film. I was expecting a cute, possibly sweet romantic comedy about a man who is "Prince Charming" to all, and instead got stuck watching a villainous ladies' man who supposedly reforms. As Hallmark puts it, "a delightfully different love story," and while definitely different, is certainly not, (in my opinion), very delightful. My advice is to stay away, based on the content and fact that the story overall is just not worth taking the time to watch.

 


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