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Ice Princess Reviews

This instantly forgettable tale about following your dreams was written by Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, but completely lacks that story's modern-day fairy-tale charm. Awkward high-schooler Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a physics whiz and spends most of the summer between her junior and senior years working on a project that will help get her a scholarship to Harvard, the school her feminist single mom (Joan Cusack) dreams she'll attend. Casey sets out to analyze the aerodynamic secrets of ice-skating by filming the elite skaters at the local rink, which is run by tough coach Tina Harwood (Kim Cattrall). The results are dull, so to make the story more personal she signs up for beginner's lessons with all the little kiddies. Since Casey has been skating on the pond in her backyard since she was a child, she knows how to make the most of her toe pick. Combined with her previously unexploited natural ability, Casey soon earns a spot among the rink's most popular and talented girls: Tina's put-upon daughter, Gen (Hayden Panettiere), who hates competing; pint-size Nikki (Kirsten Olson), whose fans call her the jumping shrimp; and classically trained Tiffany (Jocelyn Lai). As Casey starts to move up the ranks, Tina spitefully points out that garage-sale skates won't cut it in serious competition, and fills her in on the cost of coaches, choreographers, ballet classes, private rink time and equipment. Casey's job at the refreshment counter won't pay for that kind of investment, and Casey's mom couldn't swing it either, even if she wanted to encourage her brainy only child to flit around in skimpy outfits. So the determined Casey goes it alone and, with a little encouragement from the beleaguered Gen and Zamboni-driver Teddy (Trevor Blumas), she's soon on her way to becoming a full-fledged ice queen, while putting her mom's Ivy League fantasies into a deep freeze. Director Tim Fywell rises to the challenge of filming the jumps and flips that thrill fans of competitive skating, and Trachtenberg is adorable as the science-geek-turned-athlete. But the film's utterly predictable dialogue and plot developments will leave most viewers cold. Ice-struck preteens are, of course, the exceptions.