Big things happen to those who dream big.
Running Time: 92 minutes
US Certificate: G UK Certificate: PG
Country: Canada, United States
Ice, ice, baby! There just arent enough films made about figure skating Ive felt that way ever since seeing that documentary all those years ago where Dean made Torvill cry. Disneys Ice Princess might lack the fly-on-the-wall aspect of that glorious slice of TV gold, but the in-sport bitching, the tears, the figure-of-eights and the spangly costumes are all included in spades. Throw in the infectiously-charming Michelle Trachtenberg as the unassuming heroine of the piece, and youre left with the basic ingredients of a firm family favourite in the making.
Trachtenberg who you might know from Buffy, EuroTrip, or perhaps even both plays Casey Carlyle, a High School physics dweeb who secretly dreams of a life on ice skates, even though her bra-burning mum (Joan Cusack) is already planning her future at Harvard. When Caseys teacher tells her to come up with an original and personal class project, she comes up with an ingenious idea: instead of simply telling ol Teachy to stick his physics where even test tubes shouldnt venture, shell study the figure skaters at the local rink and see if she can come up with a scientific formula for finding success in the sport.
Of course, its not long before she bores of watching the other skaters (among them Racing Stripes star Hayden Panettiere) prancing around the ice and decides to give it a go herself and, much to the chagrin of pushy local coach Tina (Kim Cattrall, playing a woman whos every bit as cold as all that ice), discovers she has the talent to go all the way.
To anyone whos even remotely familiar with Disneys way of doing things, it wont come as much of a surprise to learn that this movie sticks to a long worn-out formula. From the transformation of a perennially-ignored classroom geek, to the run-up to the big end-of-film competition, its predictable all the way and couldnt play it any safer if it came wrapped up in bits of polystyrene. But Trachtenbergs bubbly, believable performance carries the project in much same way as Anne Hathaway single-handedly made The Princess Diaries a success (incidentally, both Ice Princess and The Princess Diaries are based on stories by Meg if it doesnt have Princess in the title, I didnt write it Cabot).
I Capture the Castle director Tim Fywell does a decent job of keeping up with all that swishing about, and the hour-and-a-half running time, much like all those skaters, positively flies by. Parents probably have a tough time these days deciding what they should and shouldnt take their kiddies to see not just because some movies are unsuitable for tiny eyes, but because so many of todays so-called family films are just too painfully-dull or sickly-sweet to ever want to sit through. But regardless of the age of your young uns, you wont go far wrong with a trip to see Ice Princess.
It's Got: Pro-skater-type Michelle Kwan popping up with a cameo.
It Needs: Vanilla Ice, Ice Cube, Ice T, and.. er.. Iceman from Top Gun.
Alternatives:The Princess Diaries
Little girls will love it. Hell, Im not a little girl and even I thought it was alright.