WARNING: This review contains spoilers for ‘A Royal Queens Christmas’
It’s no secret that I truly, madly, deeply L-O-V-E love bad movies. So it should come as no surprise that the minute the photo promotion for ‘A Royal Queens Christmas’ dropped, I immediately became that grinning GIF of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in the theater.
Right off the bat, I had so many questions. Why is the guy dressed as a lance corporal? Where in Queens, New York, do Marines get stationed? Which one of them is royal? Did the Marine Corps give him permission to put a glittery gold sash on his uniform?
I had to watch.
It starts off with panning views of the Queens skyline and the title superimposed with WordArt reminiscent of 1999.
Meet Dee Dee (Megan Park), a single woman working at her cousin’s bakery, who simply has NO time for a relationship. Across town, we have bad boy pianist Colin (Julian Morris) in a leather jacket.
But tickling the ivories at a dive bar has made him late for a formal family holiday party. For some reason, he dons a U.S. Marine Corps uniform with the rank of lance corporal, according to the insignia.
He is evidently the prince, however, of a country called Exeter. And his father, the king, is upset he was hanging out in a seedy saloon. This guy might not be a Marine, but his dad sure seems to think he acts like one.
At home in suburbia, Dee Dee is eating antipasti on her bed with her extremely Italian mother, who has the most cliché Brooklyn accent ever. Her mom wants Dee Dee to find her passion after years of service to country.
She’s the veteran. Army? Navy? Air Force? Coast Guard? We don’t know.
But the next day at the bakery, she is tasked with delivering a box of her cousin’s pastries to a hoity-toity chef at a hotel for a big international ball.
Unfortunately, Colin bumps into her in the lobby and destroys her box of sweets by smashing into her. She makes fun of his British accent, and he makes fun of her (nonexistent) accent but offers to do anything to make up for her mushy Danish situation. She says there is nothing and walks off.
In the kitchen, chef hoity-toity is disgusted with the offering Dee Dee has brought until he tastes the doughy treats. Sacre bleu! He must have them for the ball at the hotel. Now her cousin will need to make 1,500 pastries.
Meanwhile, Colin is playing the piano in the hotel lobby when one of his servants comes by to tell him his days of rock-and-roll and hard partying will be over soon. The king wants him to assume the throne, but, shocker, he can’t unless he’s married. And his parents know just the girl: Duchess Adriana, a childhood friend he sees as a sister.
He is forlorn. What to do?
Who should enter but Dee Dee. She’s ready to cash in on that favor now. Her father is in charge of a children’s choir and can’t make it to practice today. They need a piano player, and he is it.
Off to Queens they go.
After what seems like hours of playing, he calls their show dull and decides to jazz it up. The songs are the same, he just plays them like he’s Herbie Hancock. She’s intrigued but pretends not to be, so she invites him to dinner.
Dee Dee’s family calls her directionless. It turns out she was in the Army for five years. And I guess she didn’t take advantage of any of those transition resources. Colin tells her parents he works in “management” at his family’s business.
They flirt while washing dishes. She asks about his family business and encourages him to take his life in his own hands. But it’s getting late and he should get to a hotel. Too bad the snow has made the roads only fit for “ice capades” and he’ll have to stay the night.
No one can get a car to Colin in Queens. Can confirm this is true of New York when traveling from any other borough. Alas, he must stay and participate in all the peasant Christmas traditions Dee Dee’s family does, like making snow men.
He loves that they don’t treat him like a royal. But Colin’s manservant Whidbey has arrived in Queens, and he is now watching the prince like a hawk from behind trees while wearing a suit in the snow.
Colin accidentally smashes him with a snowball. Whidbey, introduced as his assistant, is upset and tells Colin he must return to the city to finish some business. But have no fear, the dashing royal lance corporal will be filling in for practice until the children’s Christmas show.
Somehow, we aren’t even halfway through this movie. There’s a montage of holiday family activities soundtracked by wannabe Michael Bublé music.
Dee Dee takes Colin window shopping. She tells him about her ex-boyfriend and how the Army turned her into a follower even though Colin thinks she’s a leader. They almost kiss, but don’t, until after a secret Santa gift exchange with Dee Dee’s family. Then they finally kiss! But Colin’s parents arrive and ruin the moment with his future betrothed Duchess Adriana.
Dee Dee is destroyed by the lie. And Colin won’t be able to perform at the children’s show because he has a fancy gala.
Dee Dee is sad. She is not a princess but Colin made her feel like one. And what’s worse is that there will be no piano player at the children’s concert.
Duchess Adriana is very understanding and has decided to accompany Colin to the show so he can perform. His parents arrive and see that he is using his piano skills for good instead of dubious purposes. Perhaps he’ll get a promotion to corporal.
Alas, no such luck. The press thinks Dee Dee and Colin are an item. The king and queen want to press forward with the arranged marriage to Duchess Adriana posthaste.
But hey! Dee Dee was offered a new job as a children’s music program coordinator. Finally, she has a direction for her life again.
As she and her cousin drop off the 1,500 pastries at the hotel, Colin comes down to the kitchen and expresses his love for her. She calls him a bird and herself a fish and says they can’t be together because he’s going to a ball and she’s going to Queens.
Luckily, Adriana is in love with someone else too. It’s a Christmas miracle. Even so, the king and queen still aren’t on board... or are they?
Evidently, Colin’s passion for piano has inspired his parents out of retirement. Now he can be with Dee Dee in Queens instead of a Marine lance corporal prince.
At the borough Christmas tree lighting ceremony, she makes a wish, and Colin arrives as her eyes open… in full (and still completely inexplicable) Marine regalia.
They kiss and live happily ever after. Maybe someday he’ll be the King of Queens.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.