Royalty is replaced by Hollywood stardom in this modernized Mark Twain remake. I think the Sprouse twins do fine, especially Cole Sprouse as Prince Edward, the more difficult role. The writers wanted to make a statement about celebrity, so unlike the royal heir in the Twain original, who really is just a boy in line for the throne, this Eddie Tudor is a high-powered teen superstar whose heart is hardened by the plastic values of Hollywood. But in this story, he is also just an abandoned kid trying to find his way back home. Sprouse pulls if off, making you feel sympathy for the lost Prince who misses the few emotional crumbs he gets from his 'Power Mom', even while you'd just love to smack the cocky little brat.
The 'normal' life he longs for turns out to be weird and unfamiliar to the Prince. I agree with the other reviewer that the script short-changes Eddie. Passing as Tom Canty, he meets Tom's girlfriend in acting class and likes her, but the story doesn't follow through. Eddie's long-lost father was a movie star who wrecked his own Hollywood career by acting like a Diva. The screenwriters were a little too obsessed with having Eddie repeat his father's mistakes, and passed up some good story material for Eddie. This was a mistake, since obviously the young Sprouse fans would like to see both twins with a love interest in the movie.
Dylan Sprouse's best scene as the 'Eddie' impostor is his press interview with a scandal-thirsty 'Rita Skeeter' style gossip monger. Though Tom Canty is a natural actor on the movie set, the phony scandal vulture seems bizarre to him and he can't fake that side of Eddie's life. Dylan is skillfully off-balance portraying Tom's predicament--like when Eddie leaves messages on his Mom's cell phone, Mom thinks Tom left the messages and Tom reacts like he's in the Twilight Zone. I think good acting makes you believe the actor really is in the situation in the script. Both Sprouses are convincing as 'fish out of water', kids disoriented by loss of identity and misplaced coping skills. They convey the feelings of being surrounded by people who don't believe them, who think they are faking, acting out or losing their minds. And that's the most interesting side of this story.
The writers do some interesting things with 'modernization.' As I mentioned, the original Prince Edward couldn't just dial up the castle on his cell phone, but when Modern Eddie calls his Mom, she thinks its Tom Canty messing with her head. As a tough Hollywood self-starter, Eddie Tudor never warms up to Miles as his protector and makes his way home on his own. Original Tom Canty is in no rush to get back to his abusive father, and being prince isn't that demanding compared to poverty. But Modern Tom Canty gets homesick, and being a supercool teen movie star is not quite the cakewalk life of a coddled English prince. The real Eddie, who's a trained stuntman, finds his way back to the movie set just in time to save Tom, not from coronation as King, but from having to do a dangerous stunt. Watching both kids try to get back home is a nice switch that makes this modern story, in some ways, more moving than the classic movie versions.