A Royal Christmas
Release Date: November 21, 2014
Director: Alex Zamm
Our Unofficial Summary of A Royal Christmas
A Royal Christmas opens in a city that we later learn is Philadelphia and starts off strong because there are pancakes. Then things move weirdly fast for about five minutes, finding out that our leading lady (Emily)'s boyfriend, Leo James, is actually a prince with about three hundred names (don't worry; the first one is Leopold) from a country called...something we can't remember. (It's Cordinia, but I literally had to look it up. We call it about everything except that in our commentary below.) He is inexplicably forced to go home for Christmas for an event that happens every year, so he tells Emily he's a prince and...that's it. He prepares her for nothing.
They get to Cordinia and BOOM, here comes Jane Seymour like a goddamn boss. Or, more accurately, like the Queen she is. (The capitalization of Queen throughout this is 100% intentional.) She's super mean (we compare her to Regina George and Emily Gilmore later on) and makes Emily feel unwelcome as soon as she arrives, making fun of her gift and career in a way that you can't actually get mad about because facial expressions won't hold up in court. But damn, does Jane Seymour rock at facial expressions.
In a twist, Leo was supposed to marry a woman named Natasha, who is of his same station and with whom she grew up and even dated for a time. She's played by Jane Seymour's daughter, which explains why they look so much alike and makes some comments about "who would want to marry their mother?" pretty funny later on. However, they weren't actually betrothed, so it's not like she had been planning a wedding and was being rebuffed.
There's this awful dinner where Emily is introduced to a bunch of nobility and doesn't know what forks to use or to not drink the water from the finger bowl, and she makes a comment about someone's fertility issues without realizing it. She's also destroyed a priceless artwork and been caught using fencing swords to fight statues at this point. Really. So, she's not doing so hot.
At some point, they met an orphan, and she became best friends with Emily. And Leo bought a bunch of trees. This results in Emily becoming friends with the staff, and the whole situation is very Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs in how they're expected to live.
However, it turns out Emily isn't alone. The duchess? countess? she made the accidental fertility comment about actually turns out to be a lot like her, a commoner who fell for a rich dude and embarrassed the hell out of herself. So, they bond over that, and, spoiler alert, she says she's "considering" adopting the orphan within earshot of the orphan. We never hear if she did or not, so I really hope she did so that kid doesn't come to assassinate her someday.
While all this is going on, the sexual tension between the Queen and her butler is starting to rise.
But, now, there's a ball. The Queen gives Emily a hideous dress to wear, saying she's a tailor, so she can obviously make it suitable. And the butler gives her princess lessons so she can survive the night.
Shockingly, despite having a dress that couldn't possibly have ever been that dress, things don't go well. Because of a hoagie, the friends Emily made on the staff get fired. So, Emily decides to leave, and while she's in her room, packing and crying (Chabert is an amazing crier), Leo chooses that moment to propose. And you know what? Girl says NO. And the Queen overhears this.
After that, Queen Jane (whose movie name is Isadore, but despite that being a baller name, Jane is the real Queen) has a heart to heart with the butler, who tells her what's what while the sexual tension rises and they heavily imply the two of them were a thing in the past. The Queen's heart grows three sizes, and she gives the prince her blessing to marry Emily. She also has a reverse Moana story here, and she tells the prince about how she was in his situation and did what she was supposed to do, not what she wanted to do, and that her man (the butler) and she had to split.
Except...Emily is already back in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin.
So, Leo, the Queen, and the butler all fly to Philly, and he proposes to her again. She says no. Then the Queen gets out of the car and convinces her to say yes. So, now she's marrying him. Because nothing says "we're off to a good start" like two rejections to a proposal. Also, he lied to her about her entire identity. Good luck, Chabert. Good luck.
(Oh, and don't worry. The fired staff got their jobs back. The butler overrode the Queen on that one.)
Mattie's Three-Sentence Review:
I can't put my finger on what I didn't like about this movie. Jane Seymour was absolutely brilliant, and Lacey Chabert was a treat, as always. Perhaps the pacing was off, perhaps it was the lack of Christmas cheer—but I think it's that Leo is a lying liar who lies and doesn't even prepare her for this new life.
Mattie's Rating: 2/5 Inappropriately-timed Swordfights
Austin's Three-Sentence Review:
This movie was a miss for me. The accents were crazy, there were too many orphans, and it started in Philadelphia in a time before my lord and savior Gritty, so I was just confused the entire time. The Queen threw out some Cersei Lannister levels of shade, so it wasn't all bad.
Austin's Rating: 2/5 Christmas Tree-Selling Orphans
Our Real-Time Impressions of A Royal Christmas
Mattie: Before we even start—is that Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?
Austin: I had forgotten that was even a thing before you mentioned her. My 90's TV knowledge is failing me.
Austin: And I'm calling it, the Netflix Christmas Prince was better
Mattie: We don't know that yet! Dr. Quinn can save everything. I mean...she's a DOCTOR. And a WOMAN.
Austin: Is she? Where did she go to medical school? It could be an honorary doctorate.
Mattie: She was a doctor in the Wild West. You did a cowboy episode. You know how dangerous that is. But not as dangerous as your son wanting to marry a commoner. And that's why we need her to be the Queen. Only someone who was once Dr. Quinn could handle that level of pressure.
Austin: We already have a Santa.
Mattie: This just in: Austin didn't know Jane Seymour and Dr. Quinn were the same person.
Mattie: WALMART PRODUCT PLACEMENT. Like aggressive product placement. Centered in the screen. Also, those pancakes are unquestionably props because they are NOT moving at all, no matter how much she tilts them around.
Austin: She ordered Chinese food at 9 am and also made pancakes.
Austin: Folgers! The product placement is strong!
Mattie: What is with the product placement in this movie? I haven't noticed it in these movies. What year was this? Were these movies new when this came out?
Austin: She is going to steal his organs! There is such a fine line between a Christmas movie and a horror movie!
Mattie: 2014. Also, if they're going to talk about what a great clothes designer she is, they need to make sure the clothing is on the mannequin correctly so it doesn't look like she can't sew in a straight line.
Austin: Taylor's Tailoring.
Mattie: I was trying to look up the original Hallmarkmas movie's date and saw that Kristy Swanson was in a Hallmarkmas movie. Buffy. The OG Buffy.
Austin: I would love it if there were a Sarah Michelle Gellar Christmas movie! She is perfect for them! Recognizable from a TV show in the 90s and blond!
Mattie: And Richard Gilmore was in the movie with her! Also, that guy is definitely cheating on Lacey Chabert. He just took a suspish phone call outside trying to explain to someone that he had Christmas plans. He's just in it for the pancakes and free clothes. Or maybe he's cheating WITH Lacey Chabert.
Austin: This is a proposal restaurant! Oh shit, I read this wrong. It is a break-up restaurant.
Mattie: He's British? Was he British earlier? Or is this another white guy?
Austin: Prince Leopold, and he is from a place by southern France, but is incredibly English.
Mattie: Pancakes were INVENTED in Cordinia! How very dare you, Chabert?
Austin: But they call them Le Cakes du Pan.
Mattie: The Spanish word for pancakes is panqueues, and I feel like they got it right.
Austin: Fancy ass table with cheap wicker chairs.
Mattie: Jane Seymour can tell 1% vs. 2% milk by looking at it while it's in a white ceramic container. She deserves to be Queen for sure. She knows everything.
Austin: When you were a cowboy doctor, you learn these things.
Mattie: Hahaha, Jane just had a reaction to "American" that many of us do these days. And this was 2014. Before we truly became 'Merican.
Austin: 2014. A simpler age.
Mattie: We need to bring back sequin winter hats. Though I bet Jane Seymour won't like it because it looks just a tad too much like a crown.
Mattie: You know what I appreciate about these movies? They never talk about their future children. It's all very in the moment. Also, children would imply sex was going to happen.
Austin: They just pop out of their parents' heads, fully armored and precocious. Like Athena.
Mattie: Santa brings them. That bag is just full of newborns.
Austin: The stork was PISSED. That was his only job. Now he just flies around Point Pleasant, WV, being Mothman.
Austin: MOTHMAN IS JUST AN UNEMPLOYED BABY DELIVERING STORK!
Mattie: Don't bring my boyfriend into this.
Austin: There is no snow in Carcinoma? Carmona? Cordinia!
Mattie: Prince Leopold didn't bother to prep her for any of this. He didn't tell her how to greet his mother, didn't tell her how to do any of this. It's like when someone takes you on a surprise date and refuses to tell you how to dress. Not cool.
Austin: They are from Philly!
Mattie: It's a cracked bell and a bald man with glasses. Yes, that about sums up early America, haha. Also, LOTS of us could find faults in Benjamin Franklin. How do we even know if he's the real one?
Austin: I'm 99% certain that is not the real Ben Franklin in that snow globe.
Mattie: I'd be all about a royal cemetery view. It must be super haunted for him to be that weird about it.
Austin: Again, with the slightest push, this would be an amazing horror movie.
Austin: Natasha? Who is Natasha?
Mattie: Wait, did Natasha think he was going to come back and marry him? Is this supposed to be their wedding day? Do we have someone to actually feel bad for in this movie?
Mattie: Mapquest. Ah, the good old days, when we printed things out to try to read directions while we drove.
Mattie: I love that they mashed up a bunch of European dishes for this instead of trying to invent a Cardi B delicacy.
Austin: Ah Haggis, the dish the Mediterranean is best known for.
Mattie: I love that she's clearly never been out of the country before but somehow has a passport. Also, 10/10 would eat haggis. I'll try anything. Why are they being so weird about the food they served? And can this Queen pack away an entire goose? Because that would be really impressive.
Austin: Jane Seymour is bitchy as hell, and I am here for it!
Mattie: Amazing. She's amazing. I just snorted at her opinion of hoodies. I have never heard anyone say the word "hoodies" with such disdain before, and I used to have to go to church twice a week.
Austin: Did the product placement stop, or did I just become immune to it?
Mattie: Walmart hasn't expanded to Cardamom yet.
Mattie: Dr. Quinn's experience in the field has made her hate doctors. She had to become Queen and repress all those memories.
Austin: That armor is clearly not cardboard. Stop looking closely at it.
Mattie: You need to look at Chabert's heels that she's fencing in.
Austin: She is going to stab a dude. I hope Calamari has socialized medicine.
Mattie: This royal ballroom is less fancy than where our high school prom was held.
Austin: We just saw you do the Christmas Waltz! You are an amazing waltzer who had at least 3 lessons!
Mattie: This was six years ago! Wait...did Lacey leave Calibri to go be a lawyer/dancer? What happened to Leo?! Did his mother eat him??
Mattie: "Ooh, look at this sword." Spiiiicy.
Austin: Regicide! Guards!
Mattie: Okay, you don't have to be in a royal palace to know this behavior isn't appropriate in a relative stranger's home. You don't just pick up random swords and pretend to fence their statues or whatever those would be called.
Mattie: Her phone has amazing service in a different country for 2014. I hope Leo is paying for those roaming charges.
Austin: Is there no time difference?
Mattie: Queen Dr. Quinn controls the time in Catan.
Austin: The new maid is French. Maybe there is some kind of Hapsburg thing going on here where the Spanish ruled the Netherlands for a bit. Check him for EXTREME inbreeding!
Mattie: She's not French. She's Romanian. Which makes this whole thing even more confusing. Where the hell are we?
Austin: We are in Carbonara! In the South of France!
Mattie: There's a commercial for an upcoming Hallmarkmas movie starring Rachel Leigh Cook. I didn't recognize her since her hair was already down. She was just not all that for most of the movie I know her from, and it's so hard to recognize her when she's already all that.
Austin: They stole a tractor! (in the commercial. In Corbino, the Queen has a divine right to all tractors and owns them all, so she could never be accused of stealing one.)
Mattie: I feel like stealing a tractor is way more Josie and the Pussycats than Hallmarkmas. Things are getting wild over here.
Mattie just discovered Austin has never seen Josie and the Pussycats. His life is sad and empty. But it'll be rectified soon.
Austin is in visible fear.
Mattie: I hate it when people annoy those guards that aren't allowed to react. And it's somehow worse because they work for his family. It's dehumanizing.
Austin: Can you be a bad tourist in a country you own?
Mattie: I mean, I lived on the east coast, and Midwestern tourists were way worse than ones from other countries.
Austin: Land Rover! Welcome back product placement!
Mattie: Isn't a land rover an American car brand? Doesn't Queen Quinn hate America?
Austin: I think it in English
Mattie: These guys are way more MIB than Secret Service. Also, there's a reasonable choice the Queen has made them be sewn together at the arm. This is awk.
Austin: Ope! There is the adorable kid! And she is an orphan!
Mattie: Her name is Poppy! Don't all of these royal Christmas movies have orphans in them? I feel like all of these movies have the American princess people sponsor a bunch of orphans. Okay, that was actually kind of sad, though. "You're half an orphan? But you turned out okay, right?"
Austin: Interrupted kiss! And by an orphan with a nun. The most interrupted kiss
Mattie: His Men in Black are doing a terrible, terrible job. Being attached at the arm must be really hindering them.
Austin: They were nervous; that orphan was nearly 50 lbs. It could cause some serious damage
Mattie: Ninja Queen Quinn!
Mattie: I BET THIS IS NATASHA! All strawberry blond and wearing red and looking vaguely like his mother.
Austin: And like a foot taller than Lacey Chabert
Mattie: She just heavily implied they banged. A lot. Under the watchful eye of Mummy Dearest. And she flat-out said they were all nakey together while swimming.
Austin: She does wear red. Like a stripper murderer drug dealer.
Mattie: It makes sense that she looks vaguely like the Queen. The actress is her daughter.
Mattie: The dress she made looks like a slightly fancier maid's uniform. Do you think that's going to come up?
Austin: That seems like a very Natasha thing to say. Oh god. I married the villain from a Hallmark Movie!
Mattie: They're all pronouncing Natasha differently. Also, I get that they're trying to sit Emily away from Prince Leo, but having her at the other head of the table is...weird.
Austin: In South Philadelphia, born and raised, in a tailor shop is where I spent most of my days.
Mattie: Okay, even I kind of know which forks to use. And when in doubt, watch those around you.
Austin: Just use the biggest fork and assert your dominance over the other cutlery.
Mattie: Jane Seymour is fucking amazing. Did you see her say everything really nicely while making her facial expressions tell the real story? Ahhhmazing.
Austin: What is a finger bowl? Was it full of fingers? Are there decorative finger soups?
Mattie: Yes. It's a Carvana delicacy.
Austin: I would be so lost at any fancy dinner. Unless it was also a murder mystery dinner. Then I would know the Butler did it. The butler always did it.
Mattie: A finger bowl is a bowl of water with lemon or something else that smells nice in it. You use it to rinse your fingers after you eat. Just wait until I tell you about the sherbert you're not actually allowed to eat at these kinds of dinners. Your mind will melt.
Austin: Sherbert is just sad ice cream. Nobody should eat it.
Mattie: I like sherbert.
Austin: We should have a Lacey Lemon Chabert Sherbert.
Mattie: Always bringing it back to cannibalism.
Austin: no, like one of those pun foods you get at fancy restaurants, like Moon over my hammy.
Mattie: Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.
Austin: Most realistic part of this movie, she has the same pajamas from the night before.
Mattie: They've been together for like a year, and she's afraid to have him see her wearing a cleansing face mask?
Austin: I am always frightened when I see you in a cleansing mask. I think it is a ghost.
Mattie: "That looks suspiciously like coffee." Folgers? Is that you?
Austin: Folgers is the coffee of choice amongst vaguely European royalty.
Mattie: Natasha and Queen are #twinning! And she reminds the Queen of herself at that age. Which is funny because they're related in real life.
Austin: What boy wants to marry his mother? So close to a horror movie. I feel like I've found my calling. Rewriting Christmas movies as horror movies.
Mattie: All I've ever wanted is for someone to refer to me as "perfectly suitable."
Mattie: Okay, so we've established I mostly know what forks to use, how to not swordfight with statues, and now it's been brought up that I know how to ride a horse and Chabert doesn't. Am I secretly a princess?
Mattie: Now we have some Downton Abbey shit happening. Except the Queen is more like that really mean maid.
Austin: They need a Maggie Smith to swoop in and put Dr. Queen Medicine Woman in her place
Mattie: Okay, I was also raised that you don't wear a hat inside of people's houses like this. Her prince boyfriend really didn't prep her for any of this. She should be mad at him.
Austin: That is the worst Santa I have ever seen
Mattie: This Baroness has gone a bit cockney since revealing she's also a commoner. I really hope that Princess Kate has some kind of thick Van Dyke style accent when she's not giving official speeches.
Austin: The prince bought all the Christmas trees?
Mattie: Yes, from the orphan earlier. That's how he ended up surrounded by people.
Austin: How dare that wretched urchin approach the Queen! Off with her head!
Mattie: It's quite clearly not winter. Unless this is like Australia, where Christmas is in the summer?
Austin: They said South of France. They never said how far South of France.
Mattie: He's Leo from Philly! Can't you tell by the accent?
Austin: Her faces are amazing!
Mattie: Is...is Natasha a Regina George stand-in? Will Gretchen never be free of her?!
Austin: Are we getting a sewing montage?
Mattie: The butler speaks in riddles.
Austin: It is because he is the murderer. I've solved the shit out of this mystery.
Mattie: Digging graves! At...the children's hospital. This movie took a dark turn.
Austin: The perfect place to hide a body. Nobody ever believes children. There would be no witnesses
Mattie: When is she supposed to tailor her dress while she's also taking princess lessons?
Austin: This so desperately wants to be The Princess Diaries.
Mattie: I'm not positive, but I think the Queen and Leo just got married.
Mattie: THAT'S NO MOON. Seriously, that's a fake-ass moon.
Austin: There were a lot of horns playing in that string ensemble that had a flute instead of a Viola.
Mattie: Uh, it's literally impossible that she turned that dress into this one. And I don't even mean in the short amount of time she had. Like, physics would have to stop working, and the matter creating the dress would have to totally rearrange.
Austin: They didn't even try to match up the Quartet with the music! I think we are having parallel problems with bad movie lazy nonsense.
Mattie: The Baron and Baroness are going to adopt Poppy.
Austin: it is a trap! They are going to make her assemble iPhones in a salt mine!
Austin: I am very proud of how little I've giggled every time they mentioned "The Ball."
Mattie: You know, we blame the cats, but you may be the real reason why we can't have nice things.
Mattie: He was supposed to be in Philadelphia for school? Has that been mentioned before?
Mattie: I'm seriously mad at Leo for not preparing her for any of this. I know they had limited time, but that plane ride to Carthage has to be long enough to give her some basic tips. And since he doesn't have a passport, it must be a private jet, so space to learn to waltz.
Austin: The accents are all over the place. And all the cutaways to the Queen looking pleased are ridiculous.
Mattie: Capybara is a magical land where anyone who goes through a wardrobe can exist. Hence all the accents.
Austin: And when Emily introduced the Hoagie to the country of Calamity, she became their greatest hero and new Queen.
Mattie: A hoagie sounds delicious. I can't remember the last time I had one.
Austin: I am even willing to eat subway at this point.
Mattie: Hot damn, Regina George just fired everyone.
Austin: She went full Emily Gilmore!
Mattie: "You have no idea what it takes to be royal!" Yeah, your son is a pathological liar who didn't teach her anything. Really, this comes down to how you raised him. Also, I still want a damn hoagie.
Austin: Lorde wrote a song about exactly this.
Mattie: Lacey Chabert is a champion crier. Ohhh damn, I think she and the butler used to be a thing before she married the person she was supposed to marry. There's some major sexual tension happening.
Austin: Plot twist: The butler isn't the murderer; he is the prince's father!
Mattie: How is she just going to get a flight out? How does this even work?
Austin: They have a parliament? I was assuming some kind of Christmas based Autocracy
Mattie: Are you really going to ask her to marry you when she's crying because she got people fired, and his mother has been a real bitch to her? SAY NO, CHABERT. His timing is terrible, and he's been lying to you for a good while!
Mattie: Jane Seymour's face acting is on point. And so is her eavesdropping.
Austin: All the blandsome male leads are blending together.
Mattie: That ring box didn't even light up like Douchebag David's did. That ring can't possibly be that special.
Austin: This reverse Moana is very sad.
Mattie: Don't worry, Emily. We know all the Queen's secrets. The tell-all book will fund the rest of our lives.
Austin: Her purse is full of silverware, and I think she stole a sword.
Mattie: And she's in a Rover, so she definitely stole her mattress from her roommate back in Boulder. And, as we've seen with Lacey Chabert, she ain't ever getting older.
Austin: They absolutely have fucked at one point
Mattie: Queen ALMOST smiled. Almost. And oh yeah, they totally have. "It's never too late...when love is involved."
Austin: Plot twist 2: We flash forward to a wedding, but it isn't for Lacey and the prince. It is for the Queen and butler!
Mattie: He has the front flip on his hair. I don't think I've seen that since 2002.
Austin: You can't see the liberty bell in that snow globe! This entire movie is built on lies! Lies!
Mattie: How will you even know if it's the liberty bell if you can't lick it to confirm?
Austin: We are combining too many sitcoms! We are reaching a dangerous concentration approaching critical mass!
Mattie: Take that control, Butler! Hire whoever you want! Screw her! (Wait…)
Mattie: Make a royal announcement that he's in love with Emily? While Emily's on a plane back to Philadelphia? This is going to be super uncomfortable for her when it inevitably comes out on the international news. Like, what if she meets a Hunky British Dance Teacher on the plane?
Austin: The threshold for Royal announcements is super low. "By Royal Decree, I declare that last night's episode of SNL was funny!"
Mattie: They have pictures of celebrities they've tailored for on the wall, and then one of Leo in his prince clothes, heavily implying that they made those clothes for him. THat's some false advertising right there.
Austin: is there a direct flight between Catalina and Philly? And this movie predates Gritty.
Mattie: He keeps saying that she knows him as Leo from Philly. Did he convince her he was from Philly? Did he actually not have a British accent in the beginning, and I was right about that? How large and intricate is this web of lies?
Note: We checked. He did have an accent. The real mystery of this movie is how he convinced her he was from Philly.
Austin: The Queen is wearing pants AND her hair is down, such amazing storytelling.
Mattie: Ben Franklin wouldn't say that. We heard everything he has to say when he guest-starred on The Office.
Mattie: Also, there's snow now!
Austin: The priest looks like a supernatural villain extra.
Mattie: He looks like he doesn't know what to do with his hands. He's like lurching without even moving.
Austin: the guards reacted! And it is snowing in Coconutia!
Mattie: The guards were totally flirting with each other.
Mattie: Okay, I think he just established that it doesn't snow in Cordelia because he said the snow is a Christmas miracle.
Austin: I want a Hoagie now.
What is This?
On episode 60 of Will This Be on the Test?, we talked about Hallmark Christmas movies. This inspired us to watch every Lacey Chabert Christmas movie we could find. Sadly, there aren't 12, but we hope you enjoy the 10 Days of Chabertmas anyway! (And who knows? Maybe we'll throw in a few of her other ones as well.)