This holiday weekend, feeling festive and of good cheer, I wanted to check out Netflix’s holiday movie selections, and because I’d heard some people talking about it on Twitter, I settled on watching the Netflix Original Movie “A Christmas Prince,” a movie which smashes together “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Prince and Me” and comes out with a product slightly worse than either of its inspirations. But look, I have raccoon tendencies with film and television. I like garbage. I want to find the garbage and collect it and hold it close to my heart and show it off to my friends. Also, this shiny piece of garbage has the excellent Rose McIver in it (of iZombie fame), so naturally I needed it in my life. (Spoilers ahead for "A Christmas Prince." You've been warned.)
We open on Amber Moore, a scrappy copyeditor at a major magazine who really wants to be a journalist. Seems to me like she’s doing pretty great, but she’s unhappy. She’s gotten five rejection letters in the last month! (As all freelance writers know, when you have a timely pitch, you definitely want to make it in a PRINTED LETTER sent through SNAIL MAIL because THAT’S EFFICIENT AND PRODUCTIVE.) So Amber is feeling very down on her luck. It is just very challenging to have a paying job in print media in the Year of Our Lord 2017. How will she manage?! But DON’T WORRY FRIENDS, our heroine’s luck is about to change! The editor-in-chief calls Amber in to tell her that she can go cover the contentious coronation of a generic European royal! It sounds very dramatic and exciting! Possibly our heroine’s big break. But she will have to be away during Christmas, so she’s conflicted. She goes to talk to her dad about it. They discuss the importance of following your dreams and the fact that she has a Dead Mom (v subtle character development, expertly handled). She agonizes for approximately 2.5 seconds and then decides to go. She lands in the fictional European country of Aldovia, has her cab stolen by a rude man with a large beard, and then joins the rest of the press on their way to the palace press conference. This palace looks astonishingly like Christmastime Disneyland, but we are assured it is actually a Very Formal State Residence. Unfortunately, the press conference is cancelled. No reason for this is given. But Amber is undeterred. She logically and reasonably decides to break into the castle of a foreign monarch. She is stopped by literally no one, and is then mistaken for the young Princess’s new American tutor. (This is all, of course, extremely reasonable and plausible.) She goes to meet the royal family and discovers, shock of shocks, that the rude and beardy cab stealer was in fact THE SOON TO BE KING. He’s also KINDA SWOONY. It’s clear to the Prince that Amber’s definitely Not Like Other Girls, because she wears sneakers! (Other girls don’t do that, didn’t you know?) Amber and the prince lightly flirt and then she breaks a priceless vase. How kooky! How charming!
Amber now has to pretend to be an actual tutor. This is challenging, because she doesn’t know any math, and also because the Princess is kind of a brat. (Apparently because she has spina bifida? To be honest, this detail is a little problematic to me.) Anyway, the princess completely changes her whole personality and decides to be best friends with Amber pretty quickly once Amber lets her go do stuff outside and make Christmas cookies. And actually, once the Princess gets to be nice and not bratty, she's extremely cool and funny.
Amber spends the next week going to a series of fancy royal holiday parties. (Still wearing Converse sneakers, like girl, did you only bring one pair of shoes? Buy another pair! Sneakers are not appropriate for every occasion. Spring for some loafers at least.) She and the prince continue to flirt. They get in a romantically charged snowball fight, he’s nice to some orphans, he saves her from a wolf. (It’s literally identical to the wolf scene in Beauty and the Beast. I promise you I am not making that up.) There’s a whole Dramatic Misunderstanding and the coronation is called off and then back on but I won’t bore you with the intricacies. The point is, Amber’s identity is revealed, the prince gets mad, Amber goes back home, and then he comes back and proposes so all is resolved. (“But what about my career, my friends, and my family, all of which are in New York? Also we have only known each other for six days?” she asks. “Don’t worry about it,” he answers, and so that’s all settled.) They make out, it begins to snow, and we all feel a little more merry. Overall, I give this movie a B- and I would happily watch it 12 more times.