Fix: Royal Weddings On A Budget, Teenagers With More Sense Than Adults, Holiday Romances That Include Too Much Real Life (Like Being Mad When Your Spouse Works Too Much)
A year after helping Richard secure the crown, Amber returns to Aldovia to plan their wedding. But her simple tastes clash with royal protocol.
What’s Actually Going On In Santa’s Workshop:
Where do I even start. After a barrage of stock plane footage (I guess Aldovian royalty don’t have their own private jets), we learn that it’s been a year since Amber and King Richard got together and she is finally, officially, moving to Aldovia before their Christmas day wedding, because apparently it is a day you spend with your friends’ closest friends and family instead of your own, eating lukewarm chicken and overly sweet cake. Mazel tov.
But wedding planning isn’t turning out the way Amber had hoped. The wedding planner has his own ideas of how the wedding will look; Mrs. Averill, the snooty…housekeeper(?)…from the first movie is now head of palace communications and seems to believe in upholding the values we held back when telegrams were the preferred form of contact; and, worst of all, Richard has an economic crisis on his hands and is handling it with all the emotional maturity of a rutabaga—and he can’t even take the time to go forest-shopping for a Christmas tree!
Is Amber about to make the biggest mistake of her life?
Naughty or Nice List: A Study In Cliches
Rose McIver as Amber
If the goal was to make Rose as Amber look like she had zero panache, then they knocked it out of the park. I am pretty sure the entire hair and makeup budget was a hairbrush and some Chapstick. Amber had to put up with a spineless fiancé and an overbearing staff and was then told that she couldn’t even have her blog. I also had a hearty laugh at the movie’s portrayal of her hardcore and insightful investigative notes:
(Thank God she wrote down that this was all very fishy. She may have accidentally written an article praising the company!)
Verdict: Nice. But only because I feel bad for her.
Ben Lamb as King Richard
For all that this was billed as a romance, King Richard rarely makes an appearance and, when he does, the actor pulls faces like he’d rather be anywhere but in Aldovia. His worst look is when he can’t even stand up to Mrs. Averill for his bride-to-be. Get outta here.
Verdict: Naughty. Grow a pair and maybe then your kingdom won’t boo your public speeches.
Honor Kneafsey as Princess Emily
Princess Emily is the only voice of reason in this entire movie. She cuts through the bullshit, but does anyone listen to her? No. When Cousin Simon wants to come back into the fold, she is like, WHY give this Loki-wannabe usurper a chance? She’s also a princess AND a computer hacker, and basically saves her country from bankruptcy.
Verdict: Nice. Emily is my hero and deserves all the cookie-decorating flirting she can handle.
Sarah Douglas as Mrs. Averill
Who died and made this lady queen? Unless the actual queen doesn’t want to look like the bad guy and whispers all her requests about Amber to Mrs. Averill, then I’m pretty sure she took “other duties as assigned” to a whole ‘nother level.
Verdict: Naughty. Mrs. Averill is a real See You Next Tuesday, so she is definitely getting a stocking full of coal on Christmas day.
Raj Bajaj as Sahil
The inclusion of Sahil, the completely over-the-top wedding planner (who reminded me of Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod in The Fifth Element), is what really pushed this movie into the nonsensical. There is no way Mrs. Averill or any royal family would have his histronics anywhere near a protocol-laden wedding where the wildest color to be included could realistically be called “creme fraiche”. And if they did, then he is not a wedding planner worth his salt because he let Amber walk down the aisle in a wrinkly satin wedding dress. Netflix, if you don’t even care enough about your movie to make sure the person pretending to be a princess is wrinkle-free…
Verdict: Naughty. Anyone who refers to themselves constantly in the third person will always be on the Naughty list.
John Guerrasio as Rudy
Ah, yes, Amber’s father, the cliched ugly American tourist who cannot be anyone but his good ole self, even in front of royalty, and will literally pick up the queen of a country in a bear hug because he’s so gosh-darn normal.
Verdict: Nice. Begrudgingly so, because he did do the dishes and cut the peppers like the uptight chef lady asked, and at times he brought some much-needed conviviality to this shined up turd.
Andy Lucas as Mr. Zabala
Picture Mr. Zabala as a cross between the Italian chauffeur, Vincenzo, from It Takes Two (a veritable classic, and if you disagree I will fight you on that) and Joe, Queen Clarisse’s bodyguard/lover from The Princess Diaries. That’s all you really need to know about his character.
Verdict: Nice. He, along with Princess Emily, may be the only sane one in that palace.
Sleigh-Sharing Capability: Depends On Your Mood
It’s dealer’s choice here, because, guys, this movie isn’t good. It’s not even cheesy Christmas romance acceptable and I watch Hallmark movies—I can stomach a lot. But this is straight-to-DVD sequel dreck that pulls out every single cliché in the book and doesn’t even stop to question if it makes sense. I blame those 53 people who watched A Christmas Prince so many times that Netflix got it into their head that a sequel made perfectly sound business sense. Unfortunately, they had already allocated all their money to Adam Sandler movies, so this is what we got instead.
So in light of all of that, if you want to salvage some goodwill for this movie, watch it alone or with one of those people that always looks on the bright side. I had a friend text me that it wasn’t as horrible as I said it was. So those people: they are out there.
I, however, watched this with my husband, and he did not hold back his colorful commentary; I love him for that. Watching with him was the most enjoyable part. Never let it be said that hate doesn’t bring a couple closer together.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: As Plastered As Uncle Tim
There’s always that one relative at every holiday bash that needs to be wasted in order to have a good time at his in-laws. He’ll be the first one to finish the Christmas punch and may end up “accidentally” opening that twenty-year-old bottle of wine your dad was saving for his retirement. Uncle Tim is your role model here. Find it, and drink it all—trust me, the movie will make about as much sense as it does when you’re sober, but it may be way more fun.
Did It Get Me In The Christmas Spirit?: Yes…
…if by “in the Christmas spirit” you mean that feeling you get when you’re trapped in a room with your Trump-supporting family on Christmas Eve and they won’t stop singing his praises and you can literally feel your blood pressure as it goes up point by point until you pop like a Christmas cracker. Then yes.