A Royal Disaster: A Record Review of A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

When does a bad movie become “so bad, it’s good?” A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding does not give a definitive answer to that question, and frankly, it does not even attempt to give an answer. Royal Wedding is a plainly bad movie.

Royal Wedding, of course, is the sequel to A Christmas Prince, one of Netflix’s forays into the made-for-television streaming Christmas movie genre that this newspaper reviewed last year.

Yet despite hitting a lot of the same tropes as its predecessor, both substantive (e.g., disabled child, sartorial subplot, stilted dialogue) and superficial (stupid establishing shots, excessive backlighting, cheap sound effects, distracting scene transitions), Royal Wedding manages to be, in fact, a much worse movie.

The setting of Royal Wedding is once again Genovia Aldovia, where recently crowned King Richard (Ben Lamb) awaits his cool[1] American bride, Amber Moore (Rose McIver). Richard and Amber are whinier and more ineffectual than ever, and they spend the next 90 minutes letting themselves be pushed around by (not entirely unreasonable) advisors and pouting about it. It takes a lot of soul-searching, but they finally realize that oh, wait, they’re absolute monarchs and can do whatever they want.

The only other conflict comes from a crooked advisor (think Jafar but not as funny, interesting, or good-looking). His verrrrrry devious plot is foiled by a child.

There is no suspense.[2]

The script is clunky.

The acting is unconvincing.

Of course, it will not surprise anyone, given those substantial issues, that little things are overlooked as well. At one point, the father of the bride, a diner proprietor with a heavy New York accent, reminisces fondly about Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas. That is, of course, absurd. A blue-collar New Yorker who enjoys Caesar’s Palace would obviously be a fan of Caesars Atlantic City, not Las Vegas. At another point, Amber’s laptop inexplicably changes from rose gold to silver.

Frequently, the errors tend to diminish the air of grandeur and majesty that one supposes a movie called Royal Wedding is attempting to project. At Amber’s evening arrival reception, King Richard wears a business suit instead of black or white tie attire. Amber herself wears a cocktail dress, so I suppose the royal couple matches in their casual inelegance.[3] ‾\_()_/

Amber also irresponsibly wears makeup to bed and is shown repeatedly waking up in full makeup and looking rather foolish. The royal photographer uses a cheap Canon EOS 750D digital camera with the stock plastic 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Royal family members speak with misplaced modifiers and indicative verbs when subjunctives were necessary.

Also, despite the clear implication that Christmas is a religious holiday in Aldovia and among the Aldovian royal family (e.g., characters provide renditions of “The First Noel,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and other overtly religious Christmas carols), the titular royal wedding is scheduled for Christmas Day. Isn’t there something more important that the characters should be celebrating on that day?

(That said, I do note that there is not an anti-union subplot. If anything, blue collar workers are arguably the catalyst that saves the day. Simply because the royals are bumbling dopes and that their incompetence has created problems for themselves in the form of strikes does not mean the movie is anti-union. Only a dolt would conclude that anything that creates trouble, directly or indirectly, for the main characters is necessarily an object of contempt. Indeed, if one were to adopt such categorical reasoning, viewers of Royal Wedding would be forced to conclude that the filmmakers intended that protagonists themselves should be treated with contempt and scorn, considering that most of the problems facing the protagonists are self-created.[4])

Last year, I said that I couldn’t say that it was a bad choice to watch the original A Christmas Prince. Well folks, this time I can say that it would be a bad choice to watch the sequel. This is a bad movie.

If you feel like watching a movie, then watch some other movie. There are many other movies out there. Almost any of them would be just fine. Go to a movie theater and support that dying breed of establishment. If you want to stay at home, a friend told me she liked The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She says there’s a hot pig farmer in it. It’s available on Netflix. Go watch that instead. If you’ve watched that, I think Netflix has a few other movies too. And if you’ve watched all of those, I think Netflix has a yule log video you can just put on loop. Stare into the (virtual) fire for two hours. You would be doing your brain a favor.

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding

Netflix

★★☆☆☆

[1] As with the ur-Christmas Prince, we know Amber is a Cool Girl® because she wears sparkly Chucks instead of traditional formal footwear to her wedding.

[2] Not the least because the climax of this movie is given away by its very title. Still, even Twilight at least made you wonder if she was gonna get with Edward or Jacob.

[3] I suppose these clothing oversights match Amber’s (rather implausible) ignorance of what Jimmy Choos are.

[4] As any good lawyer knows, intent is a critical part of assessing conduct. We would not describe Royal Wedding as anti-monarchical simply because the monarchs are fools (and they certainly are fools); rather, we require some intent of anti-monarchism. Yet despite Amber and Richard being plainly despicable for incompetence and obnoxiousness, I do not believe that the makers of Royal Wedding intended for viewers to despise the honored couple. Similarly, it seems to me that the mere fact that unpaid workers reasonably do not wish to work does not indicate that the filmmakers harbor ill will toward those workers. It may be true that viewers leave the movie with a poor view toward unions, monarchies, and indeed humanity in general, but that does not mean Royal Wedding is anti-anything.

Jim An

Jim An is a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.
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