This took the corny fairytale aspects of the heavily clichéd royal plotline to a new level. It was enjoyable. If you were 10. I checked this out solely because of Brendan Fehr who has had a lot of chemistry with his costars and lots of charisma on his own in the two other movies I have seen in him.
In this one, Jen Lilley plays the head of the New York branch of the royal charity of Veronia. The prince visits one day incognito and they are both secretly smitten. Next thing you know, she is invited to Veronia along with the Dublin head and the Mumbai head to help with the 100th anniversary of the Christmas charity. Little do they know that they are being screened to see which one of these top performers gets the big promotion to the worldwide director of the charity.
I won’t go further into the plot, but rest assured it involves a disapproving Queen, an unwelcome arranged marriage, heartwarming interactions with the peasant children, a cheating rival, a supportive friend, a Gala ball, and a public proposal of marriage despite not even a kiss. That’s all fine. I didn’t expect anything different. However, Jen Lilley and the character she played got on my last nerve. I am usually fairly neutral about her as an actress, but this one really highlighted why she is not a favorite. Her character was so humble and self-effacing she came across as more of a spiritless victim who wouldn’t say boo to a goose than an intelligent capable woman. I can’t really be mean about the actress, because that is the part she was playing, after all. But let’s just say she was perfectly cast. No one can do self-deprecating and shy, with those huge goo-goo eyes, like she can. The character was so kind, so sweet, and so gentle that if I had been the prince I would have wondered what she was up to. At one point her colleague says, “Stop making yourself so small!” Thank-you! In a few scenes, she even comes across as disingenuous. GAC had a strong start this season, but as Hallmark is well aware, you can’t win them all!
How refreshing to have a normal-looking woman with a normal-looking figure be the lead character. Let’s be honest here. I can’t be the only person that noticed that Jodie is not some beauty pageant-ready glamor-puss. And in this storyline of a daughter trying to live up to her mother’s impossibly high standards, it really works.
Jodie is the presumptive heir to a Martha Stewart-like empire but let’s just say her talents lie in her financial and business skills rather than cooking and crafting. And she has people skills and a generous heart as opposed to the brittle competency of her mother. I won’t regurgitate the plot, but it really showcases Jodie Sweetin’s comedic skills. I have never been a fan, but she really shines in this one. And I liked that her mother was not stereotyped. Her reveal at the end, that she actually felt insecure compared to her daughter’s qualities and talents and really admired her, was a very nice development.
I found Brenden Fehr very attractive as a leading man. I wish he hadn’t been so bullied by his boss though without him getting some of his own back. And I think it would have suited the storyline better if there had been more of a gradual realization of his feelings for Jody and his appreciation of her value and unconventional beauty. But other than that, I really enjoyed this movie and appreciated the areas that they made some unconventional choices.
Very good romance with two appealing leads who had a nice chemistry. The supporting cast of friends and mentors contributed greatly. I also like the plot which goes somewhat off the beaten path of the last 2 years. The star of the show, though, was Elizabeth Rohm, as Wendy’s boss, Priscilla Hall. She is so ruthless, so manipulative, and so harsh behind her phony loving face she shows to Adam, who she is trying to trap while he and sweet Wendy are falling in love. She made such an impression with her portrayal, that they made a Christmas Kiss II, featuring her character. When was the last time Hallmark (or whatever) made a sequel to a movie featuring the bad guy rather than the two lovers? Never! It’s been a long time since I saw CKII, but I think she somewhat redeems herself in that one. Just FYI. Sit back and enjoy!