Christmas at the Palace
So every year I watch these ridiculous Christmas Movies, but I'm kind of a sucker for the Royal Christmas movies for reasons I can't begin to understand or explain. Imagine my glee when Hallmark came through for me this year with a brand new Royal Christmas movie in Chirstmas at the Palace. Recognize that we are not giving credence a Christmas Prince 2, though I believe Lisa will review that one for you at some point, because romantic movies generally don't have sequels. When Harry met Sally 2? Sleepless in Seattle 2? You've Got Mail 2? These movies don't exist because when the boy gets the girl at the end of the movie, that's the end of the game. We don't want to see what comes next, because that will no doubt ruin the Happily Ever After. But back to Christmas at the Palace, which provides everything one expects from a Hallmark Christmas movie, but is also missing a lot of things one would expect from a Royal Christmas movie. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Katie (Merritt Patterson) is a former Olympic level skater who doesn't skate anymore, just designs routines for this realities Disney on Ice, which stars her best friend Jessica (Brittany Bristow). One more gig and both Katie and Jessica are hanging them up and starting their own training facility back home in NJ. Thing is this last gig is in the sovereign nation of San Senova, a country which was literally founded around Christmas and it's entire economy revolves around Christmas. The ladies do the show, the show goes great. Time to go home.
But not so fast my friends! Katie keeps randomly bumping King Alexander, the ruler of San Senova, as I have seen small town mayors with better security detail than this country. Also, despite the fact this country is all about Christmas, King Alexander has been branded the Grinch King because he simply doesn't seem to care for Christmas as much as everybody else, especially his dead father the previous king. Now his daughter, Princess Christina (India Fowler) knows her father is fantastic and loves Christmas, she just needs to prove it to everybody else, and she gets the bright idea to have Katie and Jessica hang around and design an Ice show about the founding of San Senova. Christmas is in two weeks, it can't be done! But with the magic of Christmas in the air, and a budding romance between the awkward king and the awkward former ice skater, anything is possible. Until something tears them apart, only to bring them back together again. At Christmas.
This particular Hallmark movie, my friends, is pure. It opens with snow falling and ice skating, Christmas music plays throughout, we travel to a made up country where people speak with British accents for some reason, and only exists for propagation of Christmas. Katie is an expert cookie baker which she puts on display, there is a glorious tree shopping scene, despite the fact the palace has a Christmas Tree in every freaking room, we have a cute kid on board who is not playing a spoiled brat, there was caroling and there's even a near miss kiss. This here movie is practically perfect in what we expect from our Hallmark Holiday movie fare. The only thing possibly missing was orphan kids. Gotta have orphan kids for complete perfection.
But as a Royal holiday movie, a few things are missing. For instance, Katie has no competition from some other princess from a nearby land with designs on the king, or the girl he grew up with riding horses who also might have some plans. There's no haughty butler or matron who constantly frowns on our heroines sullied American ways. There's also no nearby Major Domo around to tell Katie how she's not good enough for the attentions of the king, because Katie is handling all the self defeating and self loathing herself. Katie doesn't think she's good enough for the king, Katie hurt herself skating years ago and hasn't been on the ice in years, Katie has also been avoiding NJ like the plague, not because NJ smells funny but because her mother died in NJ and she has self doubt about that as well. For someone who is damn near the ideal of Aryan beauty, Katie sure does have a lot of confidence issues.
There was also, from my vantage point, an issue with our two attractive leads. I wouldn't say they lacked chemistry, but they both performed their respective roles... cool. Controlled. To the point, every time they were together alone it was awkward and uncomfortable, for them and the audience. Like they didn't know what to do with each other. I did like the scene where the King helped Katie point. You know the get-up. A woman has trouble swinging a golf club, holding a pool cue, whisking eggs, drawing a cursive letter A, but a concerned man will snuggle up behind said woman, and assist her in doing this thing correctly. Oldest trick in the book. Katie was pointing at a star, but apparently she was pointing at the wrong one. How the king knew which one was the right one, since there isn't anything up in that sky except a bunch of bright dots, but King Alexander snuggles up behinds her, takes her hand and helps her point. Never seen that move used that way before. Kudos. Near miss kiss to follow.
Anyway, Palace at the Christmas wasn't too terrible. Hit all the right Christmas cues at all the right Christmas times, just missed somewhat on the Royal cues that we've come to expect. Or at least I've come to expect. If you like these kinds of movies, chances are this one might be at the top of your list.