Trachtenberg's an Ice Ice Baby
I was not expecting a great deal from "Ice Princess" considering I was as far away from the demographic it was intended for yet this simple movie which ticks a lot of those cliche/ formula boxes had me not only engaged but also smiling. Why? Well the reason is simple and that is characters as whilst like most things about this movie they tick the cliche box they end up more than cliches as they are characters with character. It is because of that more than anything that "Ice Princess" works for those it is not intended for.
Thanks to her supportive if a little pushy mother Joan (Joan Cusack - School of Rock), Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg - EuroTrip) excels at school and should get into Harvard if she can come up with an original project for her physics presentation. Having always loved ice skating she decides to analyse the moves of skaters at her local ice rink where former Olympic skater Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall - The Return of the Musketeers) teaches her daughter Gen (Hayden Panettiere - Raising Helen). But her time on the rink makes her realise that her passion is for ice skating rather than science which if she is to succeed she is going to need some secret help but also deal with her disappointed and disapproving mother.
As I said "Ice Princess" is one of those movies which does tick those cliche and formula boxes with a storyline which sees the odd girl who has done what her mother has told her all her life suddenly following her passion. Along the way it has those obligatory extras such as Casey suddenly being accepted amongst the cool kids whilst also finding some romance and so on. The thing is that whilst it is nothing more than a formula driven movie it does it with a confidence in the writing, a belief in the jokes and the scenes will work rather than feeling apologetic for being cliche. Although having said that the science bits, the scenes where Casey falls back to geek speak when nervous end up a little too corny.
But as I said "Ice Princess" has something which most of these movies lack and that is characters with character. Ever single character be it Casey, her mum, Tina or one of the little girls who in the novice skating class have different layers and they change. It means the characters are interesting and when you have actresses like Joan Cusack and Kim Cattrall playing characters alongside young stars Michelle Trachtenberg and Hayden Panettiere they are played with confidence.
What this all boils down to is that "Ice Princess" is technically just another predictable movie made for girls. But because it gives us characters which have character and are acted with confidence it makes it a lot more watchable.