Last year, several months before Netflix romantic comedies Set It Up and To All the Boys I've Loved Before would dominate the pop culture conversation, A Christmas Prince became one of the first Netflix original films to really grab the attention of the masses. The film's popularity likely wasn't because it was a great rom-com — despite being somewhat charming, the film was serviceable at best — but rather because it echoed a narrative playing out in the real world at the same time: an American falling in love with a royal.
The movie, which featured Rose McIver as Amber Moore, an undercover reporter in the fictional country of Aldovia, came out the month after actress Meghan Markle's engagement to Prince Harry was announced by Kensington Palace. Even though Hallmark has been churning out this very same storyline for a while now, A Christmas Prince came out at the right time to capitalize on Americans' growing obsession with the royal wedding. So, the movie was successful, or so we have to believe since Netflix never releases viewership information, and now this Christmas we're saddled with a sequel, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding.
But could the sequel — which finds McIver's Amber preparing for her wedding to King Richard (Ben Lamb) back in Aldovia while struggling to remain herself as her life dramatically changes — ever live up to the original? The answer is obviously no. With the exception of D2: The Mighty Ducks, Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight and Paddington 2, very few sequels ever live up to or exceed the quality of the original. So as I sat down to watch A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, I grabbed a pen and paper, just like I think Amber would have done (though I like to think my note-taking abilities are much better than hers), and set out to discover what was in store.
The film started off innocently enough, with a cheesy montage of the loving months in between the couple's holiday engagement and the present day, but that feeling sadly did not last. Here's everything that ran through my mind as I watched the movie.
1. Is this magazine that Richard is on just called Cover?
Also, fairy tale is two words. Who did this? We are not off to a great start A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. That is just laziness.
2. Would the royal family of Aldovia be OK with Amber doing this press on her own?
Were these interviews set up by the palace? Did Amber set them up herself? Does she not have a team of people to coordinate these things? Would they really let her go on a late-night talk show in the United States? I call shenanigans on alllllll of this.
3. Why does Amber still have a blog in the year of our lord 2018?
I know Meghan Markle had The Tig, but Amber's blog, as far as I can tell, is not a lifestyle blog but something akin to a diary. (I have no idea what The Tig was.) Meghan also had a day job. Is Amber's job just ... blogging?
4. Wow, these jerks are getting married on Christmas Day?
I get these people are royals and can do whatever they want and most people would probably be very excited to go to a royal wedding regardless of when it is, but there are regular plebs who get married on Christmas too — if Hallmark has taught me anything, it is this — and that's just rude as hell! Don't make people leave their families on Christmas to celebrate what is honestly just a big drunken party in your honor. If you invite me to your wedding and it is on Christmas, I am not coming. And I definitely won't be sending you a gift. I have actual Christmas presents to buy! For my family! Who the hell are you?
5. Did Amber just say rhododendrons are her choice of flower for her wedding?
According to Wikipedia, where all great knowledge is held, "the Rhododendron symbolizes danger and to beware." Seems like a great choice for a monster who also thinks a Christmas wedding is a great idea!
6. Is this entire movie just about how Amber's dad is LOL an unmannered New York schlub and doesn't fit in with the royal family of Aldovia and their snobby ways?
I don't know if I actually expected better, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, but I want to pretend I expected better.
7. Amber is really bad at this sh--.
As the queen-to-be, Amber should know small talk with randos at fancy receptions is part of the job description. And she is failing at it right now. You can talk to Richard later! God, I think I hate Amber now.
8. Why does this movie seem determined to make Rose McIver look bad?
The script is obviously doing her no favors, but the stylists on this movie also seem to think that Amber being a commoner means she has tragically bad hair at all times. That's rude. Some of us commoners have great hair!
9. Oh look, it's another wacky wedding designer with crazy tastes that don't line up with the leading lady's.
Because this movie wasn't full of enough tired clichés, we've got an overdramatic wedding designer. (Don't call him a wedding planner!)
10. Mmm, meat jelly!
Was this in the first movie? I will never know because I will never rewatch the first film.
11. Oh no! The Palace hates Amber's blog!
Contrary to what you have been led to believe, blogs are not an occupation, Amber. But also, why the hell is the Palace just now trying to rein in Amber's public image? That should have been the first step after the engagement. Or maybe even before it. Is everyone terrible at their jobs in this movie?
12. Has Amber really never heard of Jimmy Choo?
As someone who only recently found out who Cardi B is (maybe), I know pop culture blind spots exist. But come on, Amber.
13. Do you think Noodle Chalet is good?
I would definitely go to a Noodle Chalet.
Why indeed, sign guy. Why am I still watching this?
15. Wait, did somebody say "too many cooks?"
16. Are the people of Aldovia really demanding a Royal Christmas Tree to Make Them Proud?I'm pretty sure they're demanding jobs, not a tree that is going to dry up and die, just like the country's economy.
17. What is with this hella dramatic zoom?
Sorry, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, but Bodyguard had the most dramatic zoom of the year.
18. The most famous Aldovian Christmas story features a princess who grants Santa Claus magic powers, an ogre who is nothing like Shrek, an ice castle that is nothing like Frozen, and a pet turtle.
Where's that movie?
19. WTF do you mean there "are no wolves this time?"
I thought sequels were supposed to go bigger. There should be an entire pack of wolves!
20. Amber is more excited about finding a Christmas tree than anything else in the world.
More than eating at a Noodle Chalet? Sure, Amber. Sure.
21. Jesus Christ, how does this movie still have another hour?
I might die before this movie ends. Please tell Noodle Chalet I loved it.
22. I see you trying to be a journalist, Amber!
Where is all of the money from Richard's infrastructure initiative going if not to the people of Aldovia? But more importantly, Amber, where are your notes? Those were the best part of the first movie!
23. Amber's taste in Christmas trees is awful.
Do not let Amber pick out your Christmas trees, folks.
24. God, I wish I was watching The Princess Diaries instead.
Now that's a movie that knows what it's doing and how to balance its leading lady's desire to remain her own person while also shouldering the burden of the duties that come with one day running a country. Plus, it has Michael Moscovitz. Even if Movie Michael pales in comparison to Book Michael, he's still better than King Richard.
25. It's cute this movie thinks the internet isn't forever.
Amber's adorable food fight photos or whatever they were definitely still exist somewhere on the internet. THE INTERNET IS FOREVER, LADY.
26. "Did you censor my blog?!"
I can't believe we're still talking about this blog 49 minutes into this movie. No wonder Aldovia is falling apart. It can't even control Amber, who's honestly just posting photos of cookie baking or whatever. Y'all are seriously all terrible at your jobs.
27. THEY ARE MAD SHE POSTED A STORY ABOUT HOW THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT HAS OVERTAKEN THE PALACE.
Is this a f---ing joke? This is a joke right? What does this woman have against joy?
28. Real talk: Is King Richard terrible?
What does Amber see in this dude anyway? He's not even standing up for her when these losers try to make her take off a locket with sentimental value. Kick him to the curb, girl! Aldovia's economy is sinking anyway!
29. Wait, is this what I look like when I wear Chuck Taylors all the time?
Amber is giving me serious anxiety and making me rethink everything about my own (lack of) fashion sense.
30. Amber is finally investigating something! Look at these incredible notes!
I have missed you, hilariously bad investigative journalism notes!
31. Finally, the bachelorette party montage I've been waiting for!
Aaaaand just like that it's over. We spent like 10 minutes on that damn "unique" Christmas tree and got 10 seconds of really bad toenail painting. This is the point in the movie where I'd walk out if I were in a theater.
32. This movie really missed some prime opportunities for sight gags.
A headline about the Santa Claus from the Kingdom of Belgravia was the best you could come up with for a celebrity gossip site? I'm embarrassed for you.
33. Oh sure, the little sister just happens to be an excellent hacker.
I believed she was great at archery because archery is exactly the type of thing rich people would do. But hacking? Puh-leeze.
34. Why have none of these issues between Richard and Amber come up before?
They were engaged for a year and Amber is just now struggling with her life changing? This is all on the Palace, to be honest. If those folks had done their jobs in the first place, none of this sh-- would have happened and I wouldn't be stuck here wondering when the wolves will show up and eat me.
35. Why do the writers think Amber not wearing heels makes her relatable?
I'm all for women wearing whatever the hell they want regardless of societal norms or social pressures, but those wedding sneakers are hideous and exactly what a child would wear if you got them hopped up on sugar and let them pick out their own clothes.
36. Holy shit, look at those terrifying cake toppers.
Y'all should fire whoever summoned these demons who are clearly just waiting for Amber and Richard to go to sleep before slicing them open with their razor teeth and decorating the Unique Christmas Tree with their entrails.
37. More real talk: Why does this movie exist?
Having successfully made it through all 1 hour and 28 minutes of this movie, I can definitively say this was one movie sequel we did not need. I barely remember the original movie, but I know for a fact it was much, much better. It had wolves! Everything's better with wolves. Oh well, we'll always have Noodle Chalet.
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding is now streaming on Netflix. If you dare.