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NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Spin2Win who says... Ice Princess was an interesting twist on the standard "underdog overcomes adversity (nasty competitors, parents who don't understand, the coach who sees the potential) and wins in the end" plot. It would have been easy for the film to follow the old formula, but in this version, there is some good character development and growth.
The movie opens with Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) skating on a backyard rink at her house. Her mom (Joan Cusak) calls her in, but she wants to stay out for just a bit longer.
We then see Casey in Science class. The teacher is cooking toast over a Bunsen burner, and offers a slice to Casey. When she accepts, you know she's a science geek. The teacher suggests that she go for a scholarship, and should do a research project to improve her chances of winning. He suggests that it be technical, yet personal.
After class, Casey is discussing the project with her math geek friend, and another girl surprisingly calls them over and offers Casey an invitation to a party. Casey is flattered until the girl asks Casey to give the invitation to a guy in her science class. It appears we've just encountered the enemy.
Casey and her Math geek friend discuss the research project, and they decide that the physics of figure skating would be a great topic.
Casey shows up at the rink and admires the trophies and photographs of synchronized skating teams, and what appears to be an older picture of coach Tina (Kim Cattrall). She pulls out her video camera as the skaters take to the ice.
Suddenly coach Tina shows up and starts yelling at her for spying. She is accused of being associated with skaters from another club, and is checking on the competition. Apparently the competition is stiff at the upcoming regionals, and only the top 4 skaters will make it to the national championship. Tina comments that the CIA used to train figure skaters as spies.
Tina explains that this is for a science project, but Tina asks for more proof. She pulls out her notebook, which is checked out by Zamboni-Guy Teddy (Trevor Blumas). He sees pages of complex physics equations, and jokingly tells coach Tina that she is a spy! She's got a secret code book!
Tina agrees to let her film, if it is okay with the parents. The parents of the three star junior skaters reluctantly agree. Gen (Hayden Panettiere), the nasty girl who was earlier handing out the invitations, turns out to be one of the skaters, and coach Tina is her mom! She warns Casey that if a picture of her falling on her butt shows up at school, Casey is dead meat. Casey videos Gen, as well as Nikki, the short-but-spunky red-head, and the graceful Tiffany.
Casey puts her project together, but she and her math geek friend agree that it is lacking something. It needs more passion. Casey wants to try to apply her research to herself. She asks Tina about signing up at the skating club. Tina looks down her nose at her, and tells her that there is a beginner program starting soon. She'll have to skate 3 times a week, and the cost is $800. Casey is determined, and gets a job at the rink's snack bar. She takes various abuse from the younger patrons ("She breathed on my hot dog!"), as well as Gen, Nikki and Tiffany.
When the 3 girls buy lunch (a hamburger paddy - hold the bun for Tiffany, and a salad with only lettuce, garbanzo beans, and a bit of cheese for Gen), she gives them the price, along with all the permutations and combinations of the prices added up. Spunky red-head Nikki tells her she can keep the change if she'll stop doing that!
Casey joins the lesson group, and is slammed by the 6 and 7 year old kids. After one lesson, Casey is watching the smooth ice laid down by the Zamboni. She sneaks onto the ice, and finds she can skater much nicer on the smooth ice. She is caught by Teddy, who yells at her. She explains that she's only ever skated on the rough ice of her pond. They share a laugh, and next thing you know, it's almost test day for the beginners.
Casey wasn't planning on going for the test, but changed her mind. Tina gives her one of her old skating costumes to wear. Casey knows she has a conflict - a Harvard applicant party - that is expected to wrap up just before the test is scheduled to start.
We see that Casey's mom is a professor, and has high expectations for her daughter. She has Casey practice her lines prior to the party - why she likes Harvard, and why she loves physics, however we can see that Casey is not into it. Mom has bought Casey a lovely new outfit for the party - a skirt and blouse with a tweed jacket. Mom is very much a feminist who doesn't believe in skimpy skating dresses. Luckily she doesn't find out that Casey is wearing her skating dress underneath her business attire.
Casey makes it to the skating test just in time. The beginner skating kids skate as a group to a song. Casey leads them through some basic steps, then throws in a few much more complex moves, including a double jump. The kids get their test results. They all passed that level, but Casey has skipped 2 levels to Junior - the same as the three star skaters.
Casey asks Tina about joining the group. Tina says sure - she'll just have to get new $600 skates plus blades, take ballet, and be at the rink most days. Looks like Casey is down for the count. She has no hope of making the money necessary to pull this off - until her science teacher tells her that her project is so good she could make some money from it.
Casey approaches the 3 Junior skaters, and goes over some of their faults. Nikki (now known as the Flying Shrimp) denies that she has any faults, but in the end, they all listen to Casey, and their programs improve. Casey has her video camera, laptop, and finite element analysis software at the rink, and is pointing out what each is doing wrong. They are impressed, and Casey is welcomed into their world.
She trains hard, doing ballet, working out at the gym, and trying to get her homework done late into the night.
One Saturday, Gen is fighting with mom Tina. She wants to go out, but mom says no. She's got a 5:30am practice the next day, and she won't sparkle if she's out late. Gen asks if she can go out with Casey. Mom says yes. Gen takes Casey to a wild party. She's being quite nice, and helps Casey with her hair. However she quickly abandons her to be with her boyfriend. Casey doesn't know anyone. She tries small talk with a hockey player, but he runs away when she starts babbling physics equations. Things are not going well, but then Zamboni Guy show up! She and Teddy hit it off and she finds out that he is Tina's son.
Before you know it, the Regional championship has arrived. The four skaters, their parents and coaches all ride in a bus to the out-of-town location. Casey's mom is not there. Casey is still hiding her skating from her. The girls are psyching each other out, but at least they explain what's going on to Casey. They certainly don't see her as a threat.
At the competition, they meet Zoey, the skate thief. Apparently she steals other girls skates to wreck their programs. She looks at Casey's skates (garage sale specials), and figures there's not much to worry about here.
After the short program, the Flying Shrimp is in first, Zoey is second, Tiffany is third, Gen is forth, and Casey is fifth. Everyone is surprised at how well Casey did. The top four will get to go to the Junior National championships.
Casey's blade is coming loose on one of her old skates. They are obviously on their last legs. Tina pulls out her credit card, and buys new skates and blades for Casey. Wow. She must be impressed, and wants Casey to do well. However the new skates are not broken in, and Casey has major blister trouble (the bloody foot scene may be too intense for younger children). Zoey ends up first, followed by Nikki, Tiffany, Gen, and Casey still in fifth.
Zoey notices the new skates (she would - she is the Skate Thief), and asks about them. She can't believe that Casey would skate in brand new skates for the first time at a competition. It takes at least 10 days to break them in. She figures that Tina must have done that to mess up Casey's long program, and ensure that Gen would make it into the top 4 to qualify for Nationals.
Casey uncharacteristically (ie: stupidly) accuses Tina, Gen, and Teddy of conspiring against her. She is mad and frustrated, and calls her mom to come and get her. We find out that mom and Tina go way back. Tina was the prom queen, and stood for everything that mom hates.
Casey is reduced to skating back on the pond at home. She just can't do the jumps any more, as the ice is too rough. But wait! What's that? It's Teddy driving the Zamboni down the lane to flood her backyard rink. She understands that he didn't know about Tina's cruel plan. They're friends again.
Gen is not happy. She had been getting on well with Casey, but at the same time, was fed up with pressure of skating. One day at school, she tells Casey that she is quitting. Casey will inherit forth place, and will be able to skate at the upcoming national championships.
Casey is pondering this as she sits through her Harvard entrance interview. She tell the interviewer that she was passionate about skating, and that helped her with her project. He asks her why she is passionate about Harvard. She stops, thinks, and says that she'd rather skate than go to Harvard. The interview is over. Mom is devastated. Casey has to prep for Nationals.
There is still a problem. Casey, up to this point, has been skating without a coach. She approaches Tina, and asks for 5 minutes of her time. "You're a coach with no student, and I'm a student with no coach." Tina agrees to coach Casey for the big National Championships.
Cut to Nationals, and Michelle Kwan and Brian Boytano are commenting for ESPN. Math Geek friend is sitting with Gen. Flying Shrimp Nikki is in first place, Zoey is second. Casey is the last person to skate. She falls on her triple lutz, but as she gets up, she notices that her mom has come to the arena for the first time. She gets excited and picks up the pace. She throws in an extra triple jump, and nails the rest of the program. Everyone is amazed at how well she did. The scores are announced. Casey is just behind Nikki and gets the silver medal. Michelle Kwan speculates that Casey could be at the 2006 Olympics.
Everyone is thrilled except Nikki, who is chewing out her coach and parents for not helping her do better. She really is nasty - until a TV reporter starts interviewing her. Then she turns on the fake smile, and says a few nothings to the camera. We really don't like her.
Meanwhile, Casey is bewildered by the whole thing. Teddy comes out with a dozen roses, and they finally kiss.
All is well, as mom, Casey, and Tina leave the arena. Mom and Tina start making plans for Casey. She'll have get rid of the boyfriend (both moms agree). Mom says that she'll have to take 4 university courses next term. Tina says no courses. They compromise on 2.
The screen darkens and the credits roll.
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