Prince Charming (2001) starring Martin Short, Christina Applegate, Andrea Martin, Billy Connolly directed by Allan Arkush Movie Review

Prince Charming (2001)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Sean Maguire and Martin Short in Prince Charming (2001)

Surprisingly Charming

Prince John of Anwyn (Sean Maguire) is supposed to be marrying the Lothian Princess Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) so that peace can be brought to the two warring kingdoms. The trouble is when Prince John and his wizard squire Rodney of Tudor (Martin Short) arrive the randy Prince can't keep his sword in his pants and has his wicked way with a peasant girl in the bell tower which doesn't go unnoticed. Both John and Rodney are punished and turned in to frogs forever and a day. 5 centuries later and John and Rodney are still frogs but have ended up in New York City thanks to a child who sneaks him there from England. It is there that by luck John is kissed by actress Margo (Bernadette Peters) who is trying to make a point to her boyfriend Hamish (Billy Connolly). The kiss lifts the curse but now John and Rodney only have a few days to find Margo and marry her which is made all the more complicated by John meeting carriage drive Kate (Christina Applegate) and falling for her.

In total honesty when "Prince Charming" started I quickly became distracted as this appeared to be another one of those less than subtle made for TV movies set in days of yore. It wasn't until out the corner of my eye I noticed a maid's draws being whipped down that I though wait a minute this maybe better than I imagined and started the movie over again. And the good news is that "Prince Charming" ended up a whole lot better than I was expecting, not the most original of movies but one filled with wit and enjoyable performances.

Christina Applegate in Prince Charming (2001)

So I mentioned that "Prince Charming" is not the most original of movies and it is one of those fish out of water movies where we have a historical figure in modern times and of course end up being out of place. As such when John is returned to human form he has the gallantry of a 16th century Prince who rushes to help a damsel in distress whilst also not use to modern ways such as dining out and so on. But whilst familiar it is a lot of fun as is the whole fairytale aspect of John having to marry Margo whilst falling for Kate whilst Rodney also finds himself some romance as well.

For me the success of "Prince Charming" comes from the casting as throughout it is good from Bernadette Peters bringing so much quick wit to the role of Margo whilst Billy Connolly delivers his brand of wit as well especially during a sword fight scene with John where he mentions he watched "Highlander" four times. There is also Martin Short, a toned down Martin Short to what many know him for but still a hilarious Martin Short. But whilst there is Sean Maguire as Prince John the thing which strikes you is Christina Applegate and how similar back in 2001 she was in looks to Jennifer Aniston and at times I thought it was Aniston playing Kate.

What this all boils down to is that "Prince Charming" was a lot better than expected especially considering this is a made for TV movie. It benefits greatly from a far superior cast than you normally would see in a made for TV movie but also features plenty of enjoyable writing and comedy which works well for grown ups as well as children.