Ice Princess

on March 18, 2005 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
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The pressures of achieving, both scholastically and athletically, are examined with some complexity in "Ice Princess," a formulaic teen drama that's a little smarter than the norm. Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) is being pushed by her feminist mother (Joan Cusack) to capitalize on a physics scholarship that could get her into Harvard. Gen (Hayden Panettiere) has been put on the fast track to figure skating stardom by her mother, Tina (Kim Cattrall), a disgraced former Olympic finalist. The problem is, Casey would rather skate and Gen would rather have a normal school life.

While "Ice Princess" doesn't exactly deliver any surprises -- you can easily guess how it will end -- the movie doesn't always go where you expect it to, either. Casey and Gen's adversarial relationship doesn't play out predictably and Cattrall's Tina is cast in refreshing shades of gray -- she's part vicious stage mother, part hard-done-by victim. (The rest of the actors, save the bland, one-note Trachtenberg, are also fine, with the various kids especially believable in their roles.)

The linkage of teenagers being pressured on two different fronts -- on the ice and in the educational arena -- is provocative, as neither lifestyle choice is seen as superior to the other. This is not say that "Ice Princess" challenges any storytelling taboos; it's just that it allows for a whiff of real life to enter the otherwise obvious proceedings. Starring Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere, Kim Cattrall and Joan Cusack. Directed by Tim Fywell. Written by Hadley Davis. Produced by Bridget Johnson. A Buena Vista release. Drama. Rated G. Running time: 96 min

Tags: Michelle Trachtenberg, Hayden Panettiere, Kim Cattrall and Joan Cusack. Directed by Tim Fywell. Written by Hadley Davis. Produced by Bridget Johnson. A Buena Vista release. Drama, surprises, relationship, lifestyle, educational
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