The saccharine, holiday-ready, Netflix Original movie A Christmas Prince is a throwback to trope-filled rom-coms that I had thought people stopped making in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Aspiring New York journalist Amber (Rose McIver) is sent to the fictional kingdom of Aldovia to cover the possible coronation/abdication of playboy prince Richard (Ben Lamb). Mistaken for the young princess’s tutor, Amber goes undercover for a career-making story about the royal family but falls in love instead. Cue all the predictable plot points and character beats one would expect in an inconsequential TV movie (and yet they skip over the make-over montage! Budget issues?)
An astounding quantity of uninspired dialogue, contrived situations, and clichés unfold under the unflattering lighting, cheap set design, and shoddy camerawork of A Christmas Prince. The main character is an all-American everywoman who invariably works in the unrealistically vital world of magazine publishing (see: 13 Going on 30 or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). Amber is clumsy (see: The Princess Diaries or What a Girl Wants), breaking windows and china, but also kind and down-to-earth. She is brought to some tiny, made-up, European principality full of stuffy customs (see: The Princess Diaries again) where all the posh royals inexplicably speak with an English accent, wear J.Crew FACTORY, and live in the tiniest and most cheaply decorated chateau ever. Amber somehow manages to transcend the rules and ranks with her bland charm and with the support of a small roster of supporting characters—namely her advice-spewing father, a precocious but lonely invalid, a sassy black co-worker, and a gay best friend (the latter two are toned down stereotypes for the 21st century). Constantly in the right place at the right time, Amber draws closer to the (boring and not-at-all handsome) prince while discovering major secrets and scandals. This culminates in a series of attempted coronations and interruptions (presented with the same degree of ceremony as a shotgun wedding) and a really odd and unearned proposal in the middle of a snowy and mysteriously empty city street on New Year’s Eve (see: Bridget Jones’s Diary).
Despite, or because of, the schmaltz, A Christmas Prince is a perfectly hilarious good-bad film for hatewatching over the holidays with your snarkiest friends and family members. Enjoy!
Ratings (out of 5):
Overall Average: 2.5