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"The Princess and the Marine" on NBC-TV 

Forbidden Love

NBC-TV offers up a bit of eye candy in "The Princess and the Marine," a story with elements of "Romeo and Juliet." But what's lacking is the essence of Shakespeare's story: his ... well ... way with words. "The Princess and the Marine" stars a trim and fit hunk and a repressed but sultry hottie who battle the Bahraini royal family, the Marine Corps and U.S. Immigration over their forbidden love. But the story is merely what it appears to be. There's no subplot, no soaring language, no characters who carry the might of goodness and truth tucked inside their tunics to warm their hearts. U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jason Johnson and Bahraini princess Meriam Al-Khalifa are real people. They were 25 and 19 when they met in 1999 at a mall in Bahrain. Miriam, a Muslim, knew it was forbidden for her to fall in love outside her religion. Nonetheless, she and Johnson exchanged hundreds of letters and even a kiss during their courtship. When it came time for Johnson's unit to return to the States, he forged a military ID for Miriam and they boarded a commercial flight. They got as far as Chicago before they were caught. They are still awaiting Meriam's fifth INS hearing on asylum, afraid that if she returns to Bahrain she will be severely punished. Watching the two beautiful actors playing the central roles is the most interesting thing about "The Princess and the Marine," airing Feb. 18 at 9 p.m. on NBC-TV. Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Marisol Nichols have a ways to go before establishing themselves as major actors. But as eye candy, each is a delicious
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