I reviewed A Christmas Prince when it first came out, and while I thought it was just the worst, I could have imagined things still worse and let it pass mostly on its good looks. A Christmas Prince, if you don’t remember, is the schmaltzy ABC Family-style nothing-movie that 53 people watched every day for a while.
The film was vapid, trite, predictably-scripted, poorly-acted, and unsurprisingly, precisely what the average Netflix viewer was looking for. Given that this must have been made on a shoestring budget, it’s hard to deny Netflix their well-deserved win. They gambled on a sure-thing and it paid off.
A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding is more of the same. More bad acting, more babby’s-first-romcom writing, more shot-reverse-shot conversations, more passive-aggressive villains drifting about the background.
One thing I hadn’t expected was the liberal usage of George Lucas / iMovie-style scene transitions. They use circle-out, clock-wipe, push-up, and spin-in-from-a-distance transitions back-to-back in the span of about 10 seconds in the opening catch-up montage, and it’s truly something to behold. This film, like its predecessor, teeters at all times on the verge of laughable incompetence, without ever falling over the cliff into Tommy Wisseau territory.
I want to take a break here from dumping on the film to remark on the young Honor Kneafsey, who may be the best actor in the film. That she is still playing the ridiculous wheelchair-bound cutesy-little-sister character is unfortunate, but she’s got the chops to break away from this sort of schlock and move on to proper roles down the line.
The scene where Simon makes his entrance is amazing, by the by.
The next best actor is the Harlequin Romance model who plays Prince Richard. Is that his name? I think it’s Richard. And he’s not good. Not even a little bit. But whatever character he’s trying to affect here, he’s certainly…trying.
There is also a horrible wedding designer character who is offensive as a gay stereotype and an Indian stereotype all at the same time. He rocks the same sort of accent for which Hank Azaria got in so much trouble for applying to The Simpsons’ Apu, and while this fellow is actually Indian, it’s hard to give him a pass knowing that there are Indian actors who are trying to get out from under this stereotype even as Hollywood keeps demanding it.
It’s also worth pointing out that the protagonist–I’m sorry, I won’t learn her name–has a father character who was introduced at the tail end of the first film, a humble New York diner owner, and he is played like he’s trying out for Goodfellas or The Sopranos. He manages to be likable, like the Prince, for how hard his actor seems to be trying.
And that’s something I was once criticized for on the show. I can enjoy an actor who is giving it their damnedest, even if the performance isn’t great. The actor playing A Christmas Prince‘s queen-to-be protagonist is not trying especially hard. She’s bad, like the Prince and father, but unlike them, she also isn’t trying very hard. She’s flat, like the movie. These other actors, as well as Honor Kneafsey, are trying, and provide the only bits of charm this movie has.
Look, it’s the same as the first one. So it gets the same Christmas-adjusted rating: ★★☆☆☆ and Bad.
Also, the evil cousin character is fine.
This movie is for children and people who don’t demand more of their films than children do. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. I like Billy Madison. If you like A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding, then good on you.