#43 – My Summer Prince

summer 1Ok, so it’s not summer yet, and I’m not the biggest fan of that season, but after a snow storm AFTER Easter Sunday, I am in need of something warmer than spring, so I’m delving into the DVR for this gem, that I did watch once already a while ago – one Sunday afternoon when I was hiding from my kids while doing laundry. Oh, crap. My secret’s out. Anyway – today’s installment is My Summer Prince, starring people you’ve seen in other movies. No joke – the Prince here was a Prince in something else, and Lauren Holly shows up to be awful – for reals, what happened to her career? And the smug-sounding British lady who was the fairy Godmother in Once Upon a Winter’s Date is in this too. Gotta love the casting pool at the Hallmark Studios – it’s a shallow one.

Requisite opening shots of New York in the summer – which is really nice as long as you don’t breathe in too deep. Mandy is a PR flak, working for Queen Deirdre Kelly (Lauren Holly) who is some kind of PR Guru to the troubled stars. She rides roughshod over her clients, but they all end up thanking her. Troubled client at the beginning is a children’s book author who is caught on cellphone video berating people like Bill O’Reilly’s “We’ll do it live!” scream-a-thon. But 2 seconds of Lauren Holly giving directions and an evil-eye stare, and this children’s book author is back on the road to recovery, but in all honestly, it’s all thanks to Mandy, who did all the real work. Because isn’t it the way that you slave and slave over a job, and then Lauren Holly comes in and steals the credit?

Mandy wants more responsibility, and she needs a raise to pay for the Ferragamo pumps she just bought (thanks for noticing, Sassy Friend Jess!) and so she goes to talk to Deirdre. This is clearly where the NYC budget went kaput, because Deidre’s office is on the ground floor, with windows that look out at street level. I don’t know of anywhere in Midtown where that could possibly be a thing – all street level real estate is taken up with Starbucks, Duane Reades, and the bodega where you can get bacon egg and cheese on a bagel for $2.00. I miss working in Manhattan. Anyway.

Lauren Holly is not receptive to Mandy’s halting request for more responsibility – she doesn’t want to be an assistant any more. But if you look at this actress, she is, like, the oldest PR assistant in the history of PR assistants, so either she got a super late start, or no one wanted to change the script after the girl was cast. Anyway. LH decimates Mandy with a segue about “where do you keep your ketchup?” For reals. Mandy keeps the ketchup in the fridge because the label tells her to, not for any other reason – i.e., Mandy is a follower, not a leader. She needs to be able to execute a plan of action and LH thinks Mandy is just not there yet. So Mandy goes home to cry on the phone to her mom. Mom and pregnant sister are planning a 4th of July weekend with Mandy at the beach. But you know that’s gonna not happen, or this would be a very short movie.

Enter Prince Colin of Edgemere. He’s in the US (Idaho, to be exact) for some royal thing, and is caught on tape cavorting in a fountain and is arrested. Oh, the scandal! His mom, the Queen, despairs, and it’s her 25th Jubilee soon, and he’s got to be more king-like, and it’s time to call in the outside assistance – LH and her team! They have a strategy meeting and for some reason, Mandy is there even though she is planning to fly out that afternoon to the beach. After super-shaming Mandy about wanting to be with her mom and go to the beach in front of all these judgmental PR people who are clearly a lot younger than the actress playing Mandy, both LH and Mandy are headed to Idaho.

LH had to sit next to a crying child on the plane and won’t stop bitching about it. How dare children be allowed to sit in first class? They get to the hotel, and she’s clearly exhausted, so she doesn’t take any of her clothes, she just goes to bed. Mandy is in charge of getting all her outfits pressed – why all of them (she has 4 suitcases worth of clothes) when she’s just going to wear one thing at a time? Anyway.

Morning – LH has contracted chicken pox from the crying child and it has already manifested all over her face. I don’t think that’s how fast chicken pox works. Mandy will just have to go to the meeting with Prince Colin and Penelope, the Director of Royal Communications, in LH’s place. So with that plot point in place, Mandy accepts delivery of the pressed outfits and sees a ketchup bottle on an abandoned room service tray and she says, I’m gonna do this, just watch me, Heinz 57.

So she changes her clothes into something from LH’s pile, because of that old adage “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have,” and it’s supposed to be a big transformation, but seriously, she’s just in a different suit. It’s dumb. She goes to meet Penelope, and gets flummoxed for some reason and says her name is Deirdre Kelly, and not Mandy the Assistant, and then we’re in the “I’m not who I say I am” plotline that pisses me off.  How is this movie supposed to be about the heroine going after things and taking charge of her life when she’s too flummoxed to just say “Hey, my boss is sick, I’ll take care of everything, no need to worry?”

All this angst is besides the point, because a) Prince Colin is so not having it – no need for  a PR Guru and b) he actually stammered when they made eye contact – because they were clearly made.for.each.other. Even Mandy’s repeating of Deirdre’s patented You need a PR person because you are clearly an idiot speech doesn’t work, but she does manage to get the charges dropped in lieu of community service, and she gushes on the phone to Sassy Friend, who tells her “that’s great, now why didn’t you say who you were again? You should really clear that up!” But Mandy is too much in love with her negotiation skills to listen to her Sassy Friend. Seriously, Mandy, that’s WHY you have a Sassy Friend.

Prince Colin hates the idea of community service, because he’s a spoiled brat. He also feels constricted by being a royal and by being almost engaged to Lady Isabella, a girl we haven’t seen yet, but who is a model of decorum. But it’s only 8 Days to the Jubliee and they need to announce the Engagement then, because … oh who cares … and so he sucks it up and will pick up the trash in Idaho for his community service.

Meanwhile, LH takes credit for Mandy’s negotiating skills after Mandy anoints her face and chest with calomine lotion (ew) and then says she’ll run her bath, because LH is apparently 4 and doesn’t know how to use the hot water. But for reals, set designer, please explain this to me: the bathtub is literally 2 feet from the bed, right next to the bedside table. There is no bathroom in this hotel suite, there’s just a tub right in the bedroom. WHAT HOTEL IS THIS, the MOUNT AIRY LODGE?

summer 9
This champagne hot tub thing has both fascinated and repelled me for almost as long as I can remember. It’s at the Beautiful Mt. Airy Lodge, where all you have to bring is your love of everything.

So, now to protect Mandy’s ruse, she drops LH’s phone in the weird bathtub, and then impersonates Penelope on the phone. This plot is super annoying. And now, Prince Colin is missing because he’s being a spoiled brat who doesn’t want to do the press conference. He’s at the local watering hole in the middle of the day, playing jazz on the piano – because that’s OF COURSE where he would go.

Prince Colin is swimming in despair because he feels he’s a disappointment to his family and his made-up country, but Mandy gives him a pep talk with piano analogies. And they bond over the fact that in truth, both of them have to follow orders, and what is it with Hallmark movies and REO Speedwagon because they just name-checked this band again. Seriously, I’ve mentioned REO Speedwagon more in 2 blogs than I’ve ever mentioned in my life. But they do get Prince Colin to do the Press Conference, which makes the news around the world. And Queen is super happy with how positive PC does with his speech.

The girl playing Mandy has serious cheekbones.

Colin is stifled by the fact that he’s a royal, and that his face will be on his country’s currency someday. I wouldn’t mind my face being on money, if I didn’t have to pay taxes.

Penelope is growing suspicious because from intel from the Queen, Mandy is not the Deirdre of the ferocious PR reputation. And Sassy Friend is super pissed because she just lied for Mandy to the boss. And after basically having a conversation in the lobby of the hotel about how Mandy is lying without checking who was around, we have a situation because Penelope was eavesdropping! Oh Snap!

Morning dawns in Idaho, and Mandy is wearing another one of LH’s dresses – a highly inappropriate backless sundress. Colin is hanging by the pool swimming laps, making him late for his community service. But he still manages to make it to the highway to pick up garbage, the diner to feed some homeless people, and the hospital to cheer up some sick kids. All of this gets picked up on the local news, and LH sees that Mandy is wearing her dress!

Colin’s Princess Wish List: kind, good heart, clever, smart, someone who laughs and tells stories, and who tries to make things better for other people. He tells this to a girl in the hospital. But it also serves to bond Colin and Mandy – you can tell because they play that nice music.

Penelope barges in to Mandy’s room to say that the jig is up. Oh Snap! But she doesn’t seem to be super-pissed about it, because Mandy is getting the results. But before Mandy can explain herself, she brings up the ketchup again. This damn ketchup. That analogy is crap. Penelope says she’ll keep the secret, but that she will totally get caught, and it is super bad because Colin is “fond” of her. How fond? They go for a moonlight walk in Idaho!

summer 3
This fountain is really ugly.

summer 6LH is on the warpath, and even though Penelope is sticking up for her, she still banishes Mandy back to assistant-ville, but don’t worry, she’s not down for long – they make it to the festival, where Mandy wins him a bear with a Nerf gun. Then they have cotton candy and go dancing in the bandshell like it’s Gary, Indiana in 1906. The music and the lighting all tell us that they are super into each other. They are backlit by a carousel when he tells her that meeting her has changed him, and left him gob-smacked and BAM! More REO Speedwagon! But before they kiss during the fireworks – the soon-to-be fiance, Lady Isabella, shows up in Idaho! Oh my goodness! The Drama!

Lady Isabella is all about sheath dresses and family unity, and Colin is super annoyed that he’s being railroaded into marriage when he’s got the feels for Mandy. And Mandy has the feels for Colin, judging by the heavy sighs and how she’s crying without smearing her mascara – and she cries so much she misses Colin’s call – but he asks the front desk for Deirdre Kelly’s room number – but you know that it’s not Mandy’s room, it’s LH’s room – and Penelope is going to save the day because she doesn’t want to ruin the Mandy charade. But the biggest news is that the Queen is coming to Idaho! Oh Crap!

Mandy asks the hotel Guy Friday for help with a dress for the reception for the queen, and doesn’t anyone know anything, you never ask the nerdy but obviously straight guy for dress advice because this is what he comes up with – shown in a shot when the shit hits the fan with Lady Isabella and Deidre. It ratchets up Mandy’s complete humiliation, being dressed in something that a girl would wear to a prom in 1987.

summer 5

summer 4
Here she has the sad times in the sad dress, and she’s back at the magic wishing fountain. Oh, wait, the movie about the magic wishing fountain doesn’t have a Prince in it. But trust me, there is a movie about a magic wishing fountain.

Oh, btw, a) Lady Isabella arranges to make sure Colin figures out that Mandy is not Deidre with a smug look on her face and Colin is super pissed that she lied to him, and b) she also gets fired. Mandy is the ugliest crier ever when she has her contretemps with Colin, who was foolish to believe in…oh it doesn’t matter anymore, because everyone lies, right?

But Deidre has second thoughts and decides not to fire Mandy because she’s got chutzpah. Take that, Ketchup Analogy! And all of a sudden Deidre is now the one who is all encouraging and wonders why Mandy didn’t fight for the Colin and oh, by the way, she’s got an invitation to the Queen’s Jubilee, and here, Mandy, use my credit card to buy a better looking dress. This is a character twist that is like that hairpin road in the South of France.

Colin is still sulking because he’s in love with Mandy and has to marry Lady Isabella and doesn’t want to go to the Jubilee. Penelope is all like, “Mandy brought out the best in you, don’t let that get away.” She’s giving him the advice he most wants to hear, but is that constitutionally correct? But it does give Colin the balls to confront Isabella about how the fact that they don’t love each other, and it’s totally NOT inconspicuous, Lady Isabella, to slide out the pocket doors in the middle of the jubilee. But Colin is being nice to Isabella, even if he’s condescending about wanting her to have her own life. Dude, she totally could have had her own life. That’s the movie they should make – what happens to Lady Isabella after she gets royally dumped on the eve of the announcement of her engagement.

And after Colin gets the parental approval he’s been seeking the entire movie – BAM! Mandy shows up in a much nicer dress! (But apparently, she forgot her Ferragamo pumps, and she’s wearing pink and grey sneakers instead. Stay Classy, Mandy!)

summer 2

Colin breaks the news to Mandy that he’s not getting married, and they waltz the night away. This Jubilee Ball is not well populated, but the string quartet is playing REO Speedwagon again. And they kiss during “Keep on Loving You” and The. End.

This one was really tough on the rewatch. I actually Fast Forwarded a bit, sorry. My son asked me why I do this to myself. He just read that over my shoulder and harrumphed that I put him in this recap. But I gotta stay true to my surroundings, right? Anyway, I don’t recommend My Summer Prince because of all the preceding paragraphs, and because if you want a movie with a Prince in it, there are TONS of better ones. Seriously, I’d rewatch Crown for Christmas over this one any day of the week. And I seriously want to know what kind of hold REO Speedwagon has over the Hallmark Channel, or at least, one of their staff writers. I’ll have to find out, you know, just so you don’t have to.




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