While it doesn’t offer any surprises or revolutionise Netflix ’s subgenre of royal romcoms, The Royal Treatment is sweet, funny and feels nostalgic.
There’s something quite soothing about sitting down to watch a film and having a pretty good idea of exactly how it’ll turn out. There’s a warmth to that familiarity, a sense of nostalgia even if it’s something new. Rick Jacobson’s The Royal Treatment isn’t breaking any boundaries, reinventing the wheel or offering any particular surprises, but it does fulfil that specific purpose of providing a healthy dose of predictable schmaltz that Netflix does so well.
Izzy (Laura Marano) is a New York City hairdresser who dreams of seeing the world and doing something worthwhile that doesn’t involve scissors, bibs or shampoo. Her salon is a little run down, so it comes as quite a shock when she receives an invitation to cut the Crown Prince of Latavia’s hair. Izzy makes quite the first impression on Prince Thomas (Mena Massoud), and soon she’s being flown out to undertake hair and make-up duties for his upcoming nuptials. But as Izzy and the Prince grow closer, will the wedding take place? Will the Prince choose love over duty? And will Izzy get the adventures she’s always dreamed of?
The Royal Treatment is about as subtle as a plate of spaghetti to the face. It’s predictable and cheesy, a bit baffling, and takes quite a few creative liberties. And yet, much like Netflix’s previous aristocratic offerings, any sucker for a romcom will fall for its charms hook, line and sinker. Latavia is as bland and underdeveloped as its predecessors Genovia (The Princess Diaries), Belgravia (The Princess Switch) and Aldovia (A Christmas Prince, referenced here in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter egg), with a suitably generic folk-style national dance and lush green hills surrounding the Prince’s massive castle. There’s the typical friendly old butler (Cameron Rhodes), a scheming mother-in-law-to-be, a disinterested father and a host of friendly Royal subjects. But, despite the recipe for schmaltzy dreariness, Jacobson’s film is surprisingly endearing.
There’s just the right amount of romantic bumbling and earnest ‘take control of your own destiny’ fodder that it doesn’t feel forced. Marano and Massoud have genuine chemistry and the cliches and cringier moments are, frustratingly, actually quite funny. It’s not going to convert the sceptics, or revolutionise the genre, but it fits the mould one would expect it to and provides an entertaining hour and a half of saccharine escapism.
The Royal Treatment is a romcom with believable romance and moments of genuine comedy that offers no surprises, other than that it’s quite good fun.
The Royal Treatment is now available to watch on Netflix.