There is only one surprise in “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby,” and I don’t intend to spoil it. That leaves you no choice but to watch it, but be warned: It isn’t for everyone.
A flimsy fairy-tale from John Schultz, set in a picturesque — and imaginary — snow-spangled kingdom, “The Royal Baby” comes just as the newest generation is toddling around England. The movie monarchy of tiny, vaguely European Aldovia is nearly as old as Britain’s, but far less engaging.
As Christmas approaches, so does an anniversary, that of an ancient treaty with another peculiar kingdom, Penglia. This treaty is renewed every century, with a deadline that falls inconveniently on Christmas Eve, not long before a baby is due in the palace.
Aldovia’s King Richard (Ben Lamb) and Queen Amber (Rose McIver), late of New York, where her father runs a diner, are hosting the Penglians. Textual clues hint that the devoted Richard may have been something of a playboy, while the queen calls herself a journalist, but her paucity of skepticism suggests her mommy blog is the extent of her career.
Seeing the preview, you might imagine making hot chocolate, throwing some logs on the fire and disengaging the kids from their devices for a cozy family night of Netflix, where the movie, the third in a series, began streaming on Thursday.
Although it offers a dungeon, a curse and a shocking theft, this flat, anodyne movie is unlikely to join the pantheon of holiday classics, so keep a rein on your expectations and accept that you’ll need something more to salvage the evening. Tuck in the children and, for a nightcap, queue up Season 3 of “The Crown” and reset with a bracing episode or two.
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes.
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