When it comes to cheesy Christmas films, Netflix really delivers. A Christmas Prince was their first foray into the genre, and it’s now spawned not one but two sequels – the latest being A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.
Since myself and my colleague Alex recapped the first Christmas Prince film, it made total sense for us to waste our Sunday evening watching the third instalment, then to waste precious work time reviewing it.
MEL: I cannot stress this enough Alex, my expectations for A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby were extremely low. The bar was literally on the floor, and yet somehow it managed to be even worse than I expected.
ALEX: Same. The bar was the Mariana Trench. I realised during the recap (yes, for everyone reading, the third instalment of the bafflingly successful Christmas Prince franchise comes with a recap of the first two films, in case you excised every detail of that mess from your brain) I never even finished the second one. Hot tip: you do not need to remember any plot details. Or character development. Or anything, really.
MEL: In fact, I missed the entire recap and I still worked out what the fuck was going on. So naturally, we opened with a few scenes to indicate that yes, it is winter in Aldovia, the fictional country the film is set in. That means maximum spray-snow on everything. I’m envisioning an underpaid assistant running around with aerosol snow and no protective gas mask.
ALEX: I feel like The Christmas Prince set decorators thought, “How can we make everything look like the inside of a snow globe?” Like it’s SO over the top all the time. Also – how good is the green screen ‘honeymoon’ on a tropical beach? Looks like they blew the entire budget on Christmas trees.
MEL: I have never seen anything more fake than that green screen. Except for Queen Amber‘s blog, still the worst online website in existence.
ALEX: I FORGOT ABOUT THE BLOG.
MEL: So basically we’re treated to a montage of just how great Queen Amber & King Richard are as leaders. Genuinely no explanation as to HOW they have solved a bazillion national crises, but instead just round table discussions where they simply say “and that’s how we will pay for the tech program!”
ALEX: “Queen Amber farted and we wiped $4 billion off the national debt!” Then we find out Amber is up the duff. She’s at the ‘pretty’ stage of pregnancy, where she has a bit of a bump but it doesn’t seem to impact her much at all. One of the most annoying scenes about this film for me was the press conference (attended to by like, 200 reporters, c’mon, literally who cares enough), where journos are asking about the baby and FUTURE RULER OF THEIR COUNTRY, and Amber and Richard are just like, “Uhhh… any questions about the economy?” Yeah you dumbasses, this is about the economy. Apparently royal rulers can just write some shit down, sign it, and it becomes law in this country. Stop being so up your own asses.
MEL: I know! And they were eye-rolling about every baby question! Like come on guys, this is the shit royals do. Can we also discuss Amber’s sensible mum-bob? She went from being a regular 20-something to “can I please speak to the manager” in a year.
ALEX: She IS the manager. Of the country. Final form achieved.
MEL: True. Ok so here’s a plot line I completely missed – were we across Amber’s mate Melissa dating was-evil-now-maybe-not-but-maybe-still-evil Simon? What was Simon’s back story? I was trying to deduce whether we hated him, if we knew he and Melissa were dating, and whether we approved of that purely from Amber’s facial expressions. They didn’t help much.
ALEX: Amber has facial expressions? Honestly though – no memory of Melissa whatsoever. And only the tiniest memories of Simon being a bit of a fuckboy (I think he tried to steal the kingdom in the first film?). But that’s the beauty of these movies: you do not have to know anything. You could be near-comatose and still appreciate half-baked ideas and pure chaotic energy just bouncing off the walls here.
MEL: Side note, we cop a few shoehorned in reminders that Amber’s dad exists, gives a shit about the baby, and is still the most stereotypically brash, annoying New Yorker in the world. They basically just FaceTime him twice so we don’t ask questions.
ALEX: Next we meet Amber’s OBGYN, who clearly went to medical school at the I Barely Skimmed The Wikipedia Article About Pregnancy. I know we’re not aiming for realism here, but they could have sold the character of ‘doctor’ with a little more realism.
MEL: Hard agree, and she exuded this air of “I can’t be trusted”, like a frazzled vibe? For a while I thought she was going to be involved in the crime plotline – we’ll get to that in a sec. But first we’re introduced to a new country – Penglia, a name one script writer surely made up while on drugs. Aldovia and Penglia have a 600-year-old treaty that needs re-signing before Christmas, so the leaders of Penglia are flying in for a big signing ceremony.
ALEX: First of all, I’m fairly sure that’s not how treaties work. You need to resign every century, at Christmas, otherwise your countries are technically at war? SURE, JAN. But anyway, this treaty has been resigned every 100 years by the kings of Aldovia and Pengalia. Naturally, modern gal about town Amber wants to bring the tradition into the 21st Century by having the queens sign it, too. Queen Momo of Penglia, who is said to be very traditional, is not a fan, but Amber “loves a challenge”. Write a believable script challenge, that’s my opinion.
MEL: Just on Queen Momo for a sec – she’s introduced as this frosty bitch of a Queen who gives Amber a withering look as a greeting. But that’s pretty much the bitchiest she is for the entire film? Aside from hesitating regarding signing the treaty, she’s pretty kind for the rest of this movie, and no explanation whatsoever is given for her initial frostiness besides “she’s formal”.
ALEX: Amber basically gives her a self-esteem pep talk and Momo is her new bestest mate. So next we are introduced to Queen Momo and King Tai‘s advisor Lynn, who has “some kind of past” with Simon, the castle’s resident bad boy and Melissa’s BF. Lynn has huge bitchy girl about to steal your man vibes, which is EXACTLY her role in this film, so I guess actor Crystal Yu kind of nails it? Simon and Lynn spend all their time laughing at in-jokes, plotting something, and generally just being a bit more touchy-feely than you’d want your partner to be with their “just” friend.
MEL: To be fair, I also would be fuming over Lynn and Simon’s flirtatious chats. I do think they could have toned it down a notch and it still would have made sense for Melissa to be jealous? Anyway, everyone hangs out at a royal welcome party, and then BAM! That events planner and the guy who was mates with Amber rock up. Why are they here? I could not tell you, I missed that plot point. To design the baby shower?
ALEX: I think they were there for comic relief? I seem to recall one of them provided something crucial to the plot later, but I only watched this film last night and have already forgotten everything. Throw their entire plot line into the sun.
But YES, to your point about Lynn and Simon: they were absolutely being too close and weird, it makes total sense for Melissa to be jealous. Even with the ‘eventual’ reveal, I’d still be pissed. That is not a relationship built in communication and trust, Melissa.
MEL: I can tell you the one (1) reason the designers were present – to provide an extra suspect regarding the treaty, which goes MISSING after the party! We know someone took it because we are treated to this shot:
MEL: Of course, when they go to sign the treaty in the following royal meeting, it’s not there. Cue shocked faces from all. Here’s where the designers come in – for some reason they are AT that meeting (why?) and Amber says to Richard that she suspects one of them because “he said the treaty was ugly”. Very, very big reach when it comes to reasons why someone would destroy a centuries-old, important document.
ALEX: Are we up to the curse yet? Because this is the dumbest shit of the whole movie. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a curse, but I expect my characters to have a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to curses and such. These characters do not.
MEL: We are up to the curse! So Princess Emily finds out there’s this 600 year old curse allegedly on the treaty, where if it’s not signed by Christmas Day, the first-born (???) will be cursed. This means Amber’s impending bebe, and while everything about Amber’s character that we’ve learned from these films indicates that she’s a level-headed, realistic type of person… she completely flips and seems to immediately believe the curse is, in fact, very real.
ALEX: IMMEDIATELY. In about three seconds. I don’t know about you, but I would have one or two follow up questions before believing an ancient curse was going to smite my baby.
MEL: Also, a big snow storm has cancelled all flights in and out of Aldovia, which seemed like added chaos we didn’t need at this point. But here we are. And, of course, the show must go on with Amber’s baby shower, because why the fuck would that design duo be here otherwise, if not to create this abomination:
ALEX: Here’s what I have to say about the baby shower scene: what. It’s presented to us as this huge personal triumph for Queen Amber. The music, the editing – it’s all designed to portray Amber as overcoming the issues of a curse, a missing treaty and a snowstorm by throwing a baby shower. What else were you going to do, hon?? Also, you’re a pregnant queen. You didn’t do shit except say “let’s have a party” and then show up. The real heroes of this scene are Queen Momo and King Tai, who pulled appropriate gifts out of their arses with a few hours notice.
MEL: AGREE, even if I don’t think “I will bless you with a song” is a gift, ever. So many people think just because they can sing, then singing AT someone is a proper present. But that’s an aside – I must mention their woeful take on the baby-guessing game. You don’t go up to the board and POINT AT YOURSELF, you idiots! You’re meant to guess which baby picture corresponds to the grown adult in the room!
ALEX: Next, we have the only storyline I can really get behind: Melissa freaking out about Lynn and Simon. Thanks to them ‘conveniently’ leaving a door open, Melissa overhears them plotting something (“We deserve everything we’re getting”) and sees them getting way too cozy. I don’t care if they were planning a tea party surprise for Melissa, they are crossing several lines in this scene and she is right to be concerned!!!! At one point, Melissa sees Lynn walking out of Simon’s room, and then walks in to confront him. He jumps a mile. She’s then left to believe that not only is her boyfriend cheating on her with Lynn, but that the pair are responsible for the stolen treaty. At this point, the eventual ‘twist’ in this B Plot becomes clear as day, but I’m still mad on Melissa’s behalf. Girl, run.
MEL: Sorry but it is still Red Fucking Flags when you’re ignoring your girlfriend’s jealousy and continuing to sneak off with your “old friend”, even if it IS to choose an engagement ring (sorry for spoiling what became eye-bulgingly clear at this point). You know what was worse to me? How Melissa then goes to tell Amber and Richard, which would have been really humiliating since Amber previously was all “what, you love SIMON?! ew!”, and they’re like “you have to keep pretending things are fine until we find the treaty”.
ALEX: Oh my god yes! Shit friends. Absolute dog shit mates. The next Christmas Prince movie better be about Melissa ditching them all and like, launching The Melissa Post or whatever.
MEL: Oh my god, you know what we forgot to mention? How Amber goes “I’m an investigative journalist, I’ll get to the bottom of this missing treaty”. Like, that is not how investigative journalism works. You’re not literally a police detective, Amber.
ALEX: At this point, useless couple numero uno (Amber and Richard) have hired a police dog to track down the treaty. I was quite looking forward to this bit, because a) dogs and b) I assumed the film would fuck up how police dogs work. Sadly, they skipped it. All you need to know is the police dog searched the entire castle (except the dungeons) and didn’t find it. Meanwhile, every single person facing imminent war if this treaty isn’t found decides not to keep looking for it and fuck off to the Christmas carnival instead. As you do.
MEL: And it’s the worst Christmas carnival I’ve ever seen – bleak, depressing asphalt shit with a few mediocre stalls and one ride. Everyone has another lobotomy moment where they all forget the urgency of the situation and just HAVE SOME FESTIVE FUN! That is, until Amber has some weird pains and they all hightail it back to the castle.
ALEX: I feel like not one single person is panicked enough that Amber – who was due end of January – is going into early labour. Like, yes, they call the doc, but it’s all “wow the baby is coming now” and not “the baby is coming five weeks early, fuck fuck fuuuuuuuck”. Anyway, the genius doctor drives straight into a snow bank, and King Richard heads out on horseback to go rescue her. Why is this the best possible option in these circumstances? No idea.
MEL: Surely they have a spare car or like, ploughing machine around. They live in a country where it snows! They would be prepared for this shit. Thankfully Queen Momo is all “I am a trained midwife” or some shit and helps Amber with her cramps by ramming a heat pack into her hip with a paint roller??
ALEX: THE PAINT ROLLER. That was the “crucial plot” contribution of the designers I referenced to earlier. They provide a paint roller.
MEL:: Equally ridiculous – how Simon pushes past security and gives Queen Amber… two stress balls to squeeze to help her contractions. A) absolutely won’t work and B) insane that this is his redeeming moment for Amber.
ALEX: Also, I love that Queen Momo decided the best possible time to pitch her policy plan on new mums or whatever was when Queen Amber was literally mid-contraction.
MEL: Also when it comes to best possible times to conduct very serious meetings – amber, bed ridden just minutes earlier, standing up to give the denouement of the treaty mystery and reveal that old guy I’ve never seen before as the thief. She’s literally down to one contraction every 5 mins of her first baby and she’s like “ok everyone let’s OPEN THIS CAN OF WORMS UP WHILE MY CERVIX DILATES, EH?”
ALEX: Yeah, who WAS that guy? She accuses some random of stealing the treaty, on account of snooping and finding his mother’s maiden name, and there’s some kind of ancient family revenge plot involved. I don’t know. By this point I was just waiting for movie to end. Random man confessed instantly, by the way.
MEL: Which seems ridiculous considering he almost pulled off the greatest Aldovian crime of it’s existence. So Amber has the baby, of course it just pops out and we see none of the actual heinous birthing process – I at least expected a little bit of a sweaty brow or something. Then the second greatest mystery of this film, aside from “why are the designers here” is solved – the new royal baby is a girl. Elleri. Not a real name.
ALEX: Also that baby is way too big to be a preemie. Three months old at least.
MEL: The baby was easily 6 months old and holding it’s own head up, ridiculous.
ALEX: FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING: I thought Queen Momo gifting that necklace to Queen Amber was quite nice. It was maybe the most touching moment of the entire A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby. That being said, I’m still mad Melissa went from thinking Simon was both cheating on her and betraying his country, to accepting his public proposal without a second thought. Back yourself mate.
MEL: FINAL THOUGHTS ON ENDING: I agree about the necklace and I did like Queen Momo as a character, I just think we needed more explanation for her initial ice queen vibe. I like that Simon turned his life around from being a crown-stealing villain in film 1, but I agree – Melissa forgave him far too quickly for pulling that Lynn flirt-fest. All in all, I can’t believe I wasted an hour and a half of my life on that film when I could have stared at a wall and felt just as fulfilled.
ALEX: Word. See you next year, which is the only time we interact ever.