When they called A Christmas Prince "so bad it's good", a weird part of me thought: "challenge accepted".
I've seen some shockers. I'm someone who watched the entirety of Netflix's Shadowhunters. On purpose. Besides, if watching a movie falls within my job description, who am I to argue?
Disclaimers: I hate Christmas movies, I hate Christmas music, and I hate cheesy rom-coms. So let's do this:
• Oh good. Another Christmas movie in New York. Why is Christmas music so obnoxious? Do you think these are the same "New York at Christmas time" b-rolls from Home Alone? Because I do.
• The acting is awful. Rose McIver is by far the best actor here. She's too good for this. Go back to your hit TV series, mate. Save yourself.
THE GENERAL GIST:
Aspiring journalist Amber (McIver) gets assigned to cover something to do with a fake royal family (I'm not going to lie, I've already forgotten - it doesn't really matter).
Seizing the chance to make a name for herself, she goes on the job but when the press conference is cancelled, she decides to - get this - sneak into the royals' home and pretend to be a tutor because hey, who cares about laws, ethics or general human decency?
She tutors the princess who looks like the second coming of Veruca Salt but actually turns out to be quite likeable (spoiler alert) and who also happens to have spina bifida. This has nothing to do with the storyline at all which is really cool in terms of representation; this kid's just living her life and her condition doesn't affect that at all. Good job, Christmas Prince.
Anyway, long story short: Amber falls for the Prince, gets far too involved, they bond over their dead parents (as you do), some jerk is vying for the throne, some other jerk is trying to out Amber and well….look, you know the rest, right?
LET'S TICK OFF THE TROPES:
• Beautiful, cis, straight, white, clumsy, girl-next-door female lead? Check.
• Sassy African-American friend sassy effeminate friend? Check and check.
• Female trying to be taken seriously in her profession? Check.
• Bolshy Americans vs uptight Brits? Check.
• A bratty little kid who ends up being the MVP? Check.
• A prince who is really just a "man of the people" at heart? Check.
• Some slow-mo snowball fights which magically end with an attractive man falling on top of our heroine? Oh, you know it.
Listen, I get it. People like things that are safe and familiar. Which brings me to the next point:
WHY DO I CARE?
This movie is so transparent and predictable it's like I've already seen it ten times. But for some reason, I'm still here.
Some weird part of me needs to see it for myself - maybe so I can smugly sit back and say, "called it". Who knows. But I see what the Twitterverse was saying now;
• Amber writing her story notes like it's her personal diary: "Dear Diary, Amber 4 Xmas Prince 4 Eva. #PartyLikeAJournalist".
• The bit where Amber inexplicably gets stuck in the woods at night and is cornered by a wolf. Where did this come from? Why? Did she fall asleep reading Beauty and the Beast and this is her dream sequence? JUST. STOP.
• The "mysterious riddle" Xmas Prince's dad left behind. What a head-scratcher. If only we'd had a drawn-out and unnecessary exposition scene earlier that would shed some light on…..oh wait.
So bad it's good? No. It's so bad it's just plain bad. Did I enjoy it? No. Would I watch it again? Definitely not.
But did I hate it? Of course not. It's an inoffensive, light-hearted Christmas film centered around a love story about a woman following her ambitions and a man trying to do good in the world.
It doesn't require any real thought or effort to watch, and it feels comforting in that you already know how it's going to go. I feel like this is the perfect film for Christmas night, after you've had way too much food and you just want to pass out on the couch.