I mean, the movie gave us what it promised.
During the Christmas season, journalist Amber Moore (Rose McIver) is sent to the country of Aldovia to report on the mostly-absent Prince Richard (Ben Lamb). It turns out that Aldovia only allows a total of one year between rulers at most and the Prince must take the throne or abdicate by Christmas. When Amber tries to sneak around the palace, she is caught and mistaken for the new tutor to the Princess, Emily (Honor Kneafsey). Amber goes along with the routine, being supervised by the strict Mrs. Averill (Sarah Douglas), and ends up growing closer to the Prince. At the same time, the Prince’s cousin, Simon (Theo Devaney), is trying to find his way onto the throne.
Okay, so, Rose McIver is as charming as it gets. I loved her in iZombie and I even like her in this movie. She puts so much energy into her performance that it honestly gets me to overlook the fact that this is an extremely poorly-constructed film. While the title of the movie indicates pretty clearly that Amber and Richard are going to end up together, their romance is largely just kind of assumed. They have the standard cute scenes of them together, but objectively most of the stuff they say doesn’t really come across as facilitating the whirlwind romance that this film depicts. Not that most Christmas movies do much better, but this one is incredibly generic. Instead, many of the best scenes are between Rose McIver and Honor Kneafsey, because both of them come off as genuinely interested in spending time together.
Then there’s the B-plot of Simon conspiring to take the throne away from Richard. While the idea of a scheming noble is a pretty traditional subplot for a movie about Christmas royalty, Simon’s plan is impressively bad. We are shown him wanting to take out the Prince early in the film, but it takes one of the most unbelievable plot devices of all time for him to even have a chance. It turns out that a completely secret and important document that, arguably, should not even exist was left in someone’s desk and accessible by almost anyone. Without that, there really is no B-plot nor a third act conflict. Moreover, the stupid plot device is only undone by another plot device which was actually slightly better hidden but really had no reason to be. This movie checks off a lot of bad screenwriting lists.
Overall, though, I really didn’t dislike this movie. Rose McIver is suitably entertaining and fun and most of the scenes are cute and you know there’s a happy ending. Why think too hard about it?
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time, Collection of TV Episodes, Collection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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