The USA Network ventures far from its standard Morgan Fairchild-in-jeopardy fare with a Canadian film about a summer camp for kids and teenagers with cancer. Princes in Exile (”It’s called a metaphor — that might have occurred to you if you ever read a book,” says one character tartly) is the name of the bunkhouse that’s home to Ryan (Zachary Ansley), a justifiably morose 17-year-old with a brain tumor, and Robert (Nicholas Shields), a teen who deals with his leukemia through a series of showboating, daredevil stunts. Through the course of a summer, the two boys reach an uneasy rapprochement, but only one of them survives into the fall.
Except for its ill-conceived final scenes, Joe Wiesenfeld’s script is unsentimental, a remarkable accomplishment in such a tear-laden movie genre. But it’s also fairly undramatic. Ryan, whose two “life goals” are to lose his virginity and publish his writing, would be at home in many a summer-camp movie, and whenever the characters pause for earnest discussions about feelings and fears, the film screeches to a halt. For all its good intentions, Princes isn’t really a movie — it’s a very long after-school special. C