Sony // 0000 // 92 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 18th, 2008
A modern take on a classic Mark Twain story.
Not-so-identical twins and Disney Channel superstars Cole and Dylan Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) team up for a teeny-bopper spin on a well-known yarn.
All Tom Canty (Dylan Sprouse) wants to do is act. That's been his lifelong dream, but lately it appears his existence is headed towards taking over his grandfather's crappy landscaping company. Meanwhile, Eric Tudor (Cole Sprouse) has already achieved that which Tom's desires, currently enjoying a major career as Hollywood's hottest young actor. In fact, just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Canty household, he's in the middle of his latest box-office blockbuster.
But Eric's not happy, unsettled with the high-octane, pushy Hollywood atmosphere and taking his anger out on the people around him. Basically, he's a super-dick. One day, Tom meanders onto the Hollywood lot and meets Eric and the boys realize they look exactly like each other so they unspool a plot to swap lives for an afternoon but of course that seemingly simple plan goes horribly awry and what ensues is Disney Channel-level hilarity!
I'm not familiar with the Crouse bothers but after having seen this film I can understand the popularity of their show. These kids have charisma and the acting chops to put it to good use. Yes, I'm not the target audience and yes, I doubt I'll seek out their next adventure with enthusiasm, but I can honestly say that The Prince and the Pauper will appeal greatly to the young fans of the actors.
The story is fairly thin and mainly involves the two boys wandering around and enjoying mild misadventures in their new lives. Towards the end, when they reconnect on Eddie's latest movie set, the energy picks up a bit, which leads to a wild and nonsensical chase scene and some robot tackling. Valuable lessons are then learned about humility and graciousness and that's your movie.
Again, it's not bad, once you get past one humongous plot problem: the Crouse twins really don't look that identical, at least not enough to fool friends and family members, which they do. Dylan probably has like 10-15 pounds on his brother. But everyone doesn't seem to mind the extra weight or the dramatic personality change and only when the two are finally face to face do the light bulbs click.
But that's just the name of the game. You'll have to let that one slide, accept the fact that the alternate world that these characters inhabit is comprised solely of oblivious idiots and continue forth. What awaits you, and, presumably, your adolescent and pre-adolescent brood is a garden variety kids' movie headlined by two likable, talented young actors.
Sony's got a nice looking disc, featuring an attractive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and two 5.1 surround tracks (English and Spanish). A lightweight on-the-set featurette is the only extra.
The Prince and the Pauper is easy on the cleverness but diminutive fans of the Sprouse boys and switcheroo comedies will probably get a kick out of it.
Guilty, not guilty, what's the difference? Your kids are going to make you buy this DVD.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 0000
MPAA Rating: Rated PG