Greetings! Have you seen commercials for Hallmark movies and thought, “Oh, I’d watch that if I had the time,” and yet the time has never come? Have you ever passed a display of Harlequin novels in the drug store and thought, “Hey, maybe I’ll read one of those on vacation,” only, when vacation comes, you want to pack your bag with the latest best-seller instead?
Never fear, I’m here, to read or watch all these things, just so you don’t have to.
Don’t get me wrong, please go read/watch to your heart’s content! I firmly believe in the power of these stories to distract you from your every day problems, and give your heart a little boost. But I’m willing to take one for the team, and what better season to do this, than the Christmas Season!
For the inaugural entry in this new offering, I watched Netflix’s new movie, The Christmas Prince, starring the girl from iZombie, and some other guy.
As a warning, you have definitely seen this movie before.
Scrappy, young junior editor at some US Weekly rip-off Amber from New York City (which is established in tracking shots over the main titles and then never looks like NYC again) is sent to Aldovia, a fictional country somewhere in the middle of Switzerland to have her ‘first big break’ as a reporter. Why? The prince, Richard, is set to be crowned on Christmas day according to some ancient tradition that is never fully explained. He’s been ducking the coronation for a whole year since his father died, and has garnered a ‘playboy’ reputation in the tabloids. Color me shocked.
Amber has an encounter at the airport with a guy in a full hipster beard who steals her cab. Then, scrappy Amber infiltrates the palace and pretends to be tutor Martha Anderson, for young, wheelchair bound Princess Emily, who is the type of preternaturally intelligent, precocious girls that are always in movies, but whom you would probably smack the crap out of in real life.
- Does Amber treat the girl like a normal person, thus endearing herself to the holy terror? Of course.
Does Amber have a meet-cute with the Prince after she realizes that he’s the hipster beard guy who stole her taxi? And then, does she back into a precious Ming vase, shattering it? Bien sur.
- Is there a douchey cousin with his own agenda to steal the throne, aided and abetted by jilted former girlfriend who is awful because she calls Amber “the help?” What do you think?
There are the requisite moonlight walks, and ‘real’ talk with the Prince, but how can Amber be really real, if she’s lying all the time?!?!
There is also the following:
- tearful graveside discussion between prince and dead father
- kiss in the snow
- make-over scene gearing up for the ball!
- a hush over the crowd as Amber descends to said ball, because apparently, everyone is shocked to see her with make-up on, or something.
The big twist here is that the Prince is (gasp!) adopted. So not the right ‘bloodline.’ And now, douchey cousin knows it, because he and jealous ex broke into Amber’s room and found her ID, like that scene in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.
- Do they wait until the “speak now” part of the weirdly specific coronation that has to take place on Christmas Eve at the ball? Of course.
- Is Amber unmasked at the ball? Yup.
- Does Prince Richard freak out? Duh.
- Do the pictures of the late King Richard look like Dustin Hoffman with a big old Russian beard? Yes. Yes they do.
But never fear, because at the last…last possible second, in the middle of the really lackluster coronation of douchey cousin in what looks like a college auditorium with a fake flag in the background, Amber runs in with a last-minute STOP! Turns out old King Dustin Hoffman wrote a secret missive obliterating hundreds of years of tradition in favor of his adopted son, and everyone is just OK with that – because they really hate douchey cousin. Prince Richard is crowned! Yay!
Amber heads back to NYC, where her magazine won’t publish her true, heartfelt story, because it doesn’t have any skeletons in the closet, or whatever, so she quits and goes back to work for her dad’s diner in Brooklyn, which looks like no diner in Brooklyn, ever.
- Cut to New Year’s Eve. Will the King show up at the diner?!?!?!?!? Why am I even asking?
- Is there a snowbound proposal? (In passing, the snow in this scene looks like no snow ever in the New York Metropolitan area. Ever.)
- And then, truer words were never spoken: “We barely know each other.” Said by Amber the voice of reason, but the King, does he care?
- “I can’t leave my father!” “I’ll buy him his own diner in Aldovia!” All righty then!
- And with that, my friends, we have a circle tracking shot of them kissing in the snow, in the middle of some set designer’s idea of New York, where the only New York they’ve ever seen was in a postcard from the 50s.
Careful viewers will realize that Aldovia is the same weirdly generic European town that has played home to Hallmark’s A Princess for Christmas and A Royal Christmas – and the castle was heavily featured in both. I am hoping that the owners of that castle got a handsome compensation, as it looks like a lovely place.
Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite guilty pleasure to view / read…I’m always open to suggestions!