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Parents' Guide to

The Prince and the Surfer

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Dude! Remake of Twain story has some iffy humor, no surfing.

Movie PG 2004 98 minutes
The Prince and the Surfer Poster Image

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Lacking the barbed wit of Mark Twain, this movie feels less like the modernization of a classic, and more like just another tepid Hollywood "character switcheroo" movie. As an attempt to modernize Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper," THE PRINCE AND THE SURFER fails at making the story any more accessible for families than if they had simply stuck to the original time, setting, and characters, and not only because "The Surfer" referenced in the title is actually more of a skateboarder. Early in the film, the voiceover of the narrator is delivered in the most stereotypical of Southern Californian accents and slang. Had this actually been funny, it would have been tolerable, but it's really just a sign of the flat humor and predictable action scenes to come.

The actors make the best of what they've been given -- among them, Robert Englund as the wicked minister, Jennifer O'Neill as the Queen, and Vincent Schiavelli as the butler -- but there's simply too much hackneyed character interaction and excruciating attempts at humor to overcome.

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