CORPORATE LINE: A teen misfit who never thought she’d fit in discovers her personal edge when she risks it all to pursue her dreams of figure skating, in Disney’s inspirational family comedy, ICE PRINCESS. Rising star Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “EuroTrip”) stars as Casey Carlyle, the brainy bookworm who gives up a life devoted to schoolwork for a thrilling new world of axels, sit spins, best friends, boyfriends and cutthroat competition as she finds herself in the unlikely position of skating for gold. Daring to attempt what she thought was impossible, the once shy and awkward Casey discovers how to literally take flight.
Casey is just trying to please her hard-working single mom (JOAN CUSACK), who’s got her daughter on the fast track to Harvard, when she decides to do a report on the physics of figure skating. Having fantasized on her backyard pond about becoming an Olympic champion since she was a little girl, Casey is ecstatic, and nervous, to finally have a chance to meet the elite skaters at her local rink. What she doesn’t know is that her whole existence is about to be sent for a wild spin when it turns out that Casey’s smarts have helped her become a skating prodigy.
Now, as she gets the chance to train with champion-in-the-making Gen Harwood (HAYDEN PANETTIERE) and Gen’s famously tough coach and mother, Tina (KIM CATTRALL), Casey sets off on a fun, comedic and life-changing adventure that takes her into a world she never expected to experience. Not only does she get a crash course in the glamour, sweat and tears of skating competitions, she also gets her first taste of romance as she falls for Gen’s teenage brother, the rink’s hunky Zamboni driver, Teddy (TREVOR BLUMAS). As she trains with gritty determination, Casey’s confidence begins to soar—but with the big championship looming, she is about to find out if she really has what it takes to leave her old life behind and truly become an ICE PRINCESS.
THE GOOD: It’s hard to admit this—but I really enjoyed Ice Princess. I’m a grown man who is usually bored to tears when asked to review teen flicks and yet the Ice Princess kept me interested from beginning to end and is much more enjoyable than the Pacifier.
Not only is the Ice Princess inspiring but also good, clean fun for all ages and inspiring. Better yet Disney doesn’t treat an attempt at being cool or taking on a dream as more important than school—in fact they bring both elements together and make a super-geek into a princess. Interestingly, school actually helps her become a super talent and to reach her dreams. When has a movie inspired one to study hard in physics?
Surely some people will see Ice Princess as dismissing school for your dreams however you have to recognize how she got there and that is inspiring. Parents will be able to point out how the smart girl doesn’t always finish last and that she too can be smart, good and still come out on top. The smart girl also keeps her old friends and becomes friends with the most popular girl in school. We saw in Mean Girls that the geek gave up all her old friends for new ones and Ice Princess never makes such a compromise as she wins everyone over by being herself. That is priceless.
THE BAD: Yes the idea of Ice Princess—a girl goes from skating on her pond in her backyard to possibly going to the Olympics is extremely hard to believe. However it’s no less ridiculous than Freak Friday or Mary Poppins. Disney’s legend is blending timeless stories with hope and fiction… and we can hardly qualify straying from reality bad.
DVD FEATURES: The audio commentary by the actors is not interesting for an adult—but fans might enjoy hearing their teen idols chatting about a movie they like. The deleted scenes aren’t of any value. Either is the alternate opening.
FRANKLY: Since Michelle Trachtenberg played Buffy’s younger sister it seemed certain she’d be a star. Trachtenberg proves she can carry a film. Cheers to Disney for throwing the usual stereotypes out the window—popular girl is a real sweet heart and the smart girl can be both smart and cool. Certainly teenage girls will love this—but don’t be surprised if parents like it too.
+ Charlie Craine