Opening 28 Jul 2005
Writing credits: Meg Cabot, Hadley Davis
Principal actors: Joan Cusack, Kim Cattrall, Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere, Trevor Blumas
Walt Disney Pictures presents yet another film fulfilling every little girl’s fantasy of being royalty – although this time, our heroine doesn’t find out she’s an actual princess (as she did in The Princess Diaries I and II), but rather works her way to the next best thing: being a competitive figure skater. Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg of Harriet the Spy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is a brainy high school junior whose mother (Joan Cusack) dreams of her attending Harvard, whereas Casey just dreams of being in the popular crowd at school. While working on a project about the physics of figure skating in hopes of receiving a science scholarship, Casey meets Gen (Hayden Panettiere of Raising Helen and Remember the Titans), an elite skater at their local rink coached by her former champion mother, Tina (Kim Cattrall). Soon Casey is doing more than just studying the skaters’ moves, she is becoming one of them.
Ice Princess has some good acting (Trachtenberg and Panettiere are especially impressive as skaters despite having had no skating training before taking on these roles) and a great message, but not too much else. Amazingly, the drama and thrills involved in real competitive figure skating are only weakly portrayed here. The story is far-fetched, the characters are mostly one-dimensional, and the film shows little of the hard work and training so important to the eventual success of our heroine. But Princess is about more than just winning, and it realistically portrays the bonds and struggles of moms and daughters. The teenage girls at whom this film is aimed will enjoy it, but everyone else will likely find the plot, like skates, only scratches the surface of life as an ice princess. (Kirsten Greco)