The Royal Nanny

Scary Poppins 

I do like it when Hallmark goes to England, and this was no exception. Rachel Skarsten is good, as usual, and very striking looking with her hair up. No long overprocessed ringlets, thank goodness. Her English accent was a little distracting, but that was a me problem as she has the accent credentials once playing Elizabeth Tudor in the popular series Reign. But I digress. Enough about Rachel.

This had elements of a typical Nannyfish out of water taking care of precocious Royal Children and falling for the Prince. But this usual template is rescued from dreary business-as-usual by the fact that this was also part MI5 spy story. Agent Rachel helps uncover a plot against the Royal Family and the military intelligence department sends her to protect the family disguised as the new nanny. She is partnered by Tousaint Meghie as Wallace, the new chauffeur. She resists the assignment because she grew up in an orphanage and has zero experience with children. She goes through a whirlwind training by the Nanny Whisperer, Greta Scacchi, who has aged gracefully and settled into character parts very comfortably, thank you very much. Her specialty is weaponizing the ever-present Nanny umbrella. Once she is installed, high jinks ensue with the kids trying to prank her. She is not MI5 for nothing and their amateur efforts are nipped in the bud quite resoundingly with the bucket of spaghetti landing on their co-conspirator, Uncle Colin (the love interest). She wins the kids over by not ratting them out to their mother, the Princess, and even indulging in a prank of her own. The princess is a dead ringer for Felicity Jones, BTW. Of course, we have the inevitable invitation to the Royal Ball and a jaw-dropping entrance. She wins Colin over when he sees her with her hair down (in an unfortunate return to her long ringlets) and in a feminine ball dress. But also by jumping in to help with his charity coincidentally benefitting her old orphanage. The enemies attack as they are exiting and Rachel saves the kids with some ninja umbrella action, but Colin gets kidnapped.

The romance was lame with little chemistry between the two lovebirds and really had no future despite the kiss at the end. The spy part was adequate. I suspected one character, who turned out to be guilty of something, but not of the main threat of harming the children. When Colin gets kidnapped, Rachel’s boss tries to fire her but the princess stands up for her and throws the male spooks out on their ear. Yay! The main bad guy and the motive will be no surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in British mystery and international intrigue stories, but that was totally OK. In a good scene, Rachel has some succinct words for any bad guys thinking that the end justifies the means: “You can never do right by doing wrong.” And her reply to a common defense: “This job. It changes you.” “I think it just makes you more of who you are.” Simplistic, but usually true.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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