Christmas + Netflix = trashy, feel-good, rom coms. The online streaming service has taken to releasing a few original Christmas movies each year and let it be known: I LOVE THEM. What I’m talking about here are the Disneyesque movies that involve a romantic plotline poorly disguised with a baking competition or investigative journalism. I’m excluding the offerings that might actually be ‘good’ or worthy of comment and sticking to Netflix Original rom coms, of which there are five. These are my definitive rankings, from best to worst, so that you too can discover the joy of terrible Christmas movies:
1. The Holiday Calendar
The Holiday Calendar is different from the rest of Netflix’s offerings. There are no cheesy shots of New York city, no royal families, and no concealed-identity plot points to manufacture tension. The romance and the challenges that Abby faces feel real. This movie is genuinely heart-warming. There’s a love triangle and a protagonist figuring out what she wants. And a magical advent calendar, which is unsurpassable as a device of Christmas movie fun. Abby is not only trying to decide between two attractive male romantic leads, she’s also figuring out how to take the leap and venture into her solo photography career. It’s cheesy and inspirational and focuses on Abby learning about herself as well as the romantic plotline. Watch it and fill your heart with the maximum amount of Christmas joy.
2. The Princess Switch
This one sums up my definition of a Netflix Christmas movie. It was trash, and I loved it. Vanessa Hudgens plays a New Yorker who travels to a non-existent European kingdom at Christmas time to participate in a baking competition. There she meets the prince’s fiancée who is – shock horror – identical to her (also played by Vanessa Hudgens). You can see where this is going. And yes, it’s very similar to Barbie’s The Princess and the Pauper. My main criticism of the movie is that it was almost too predictable. At no point did I doubt that the perfect happy ending would occur – so when it did happen, it just wasn’t that satisfying. That said, the movie was non-stop fun and cheesy romance.
3. A Christmas Prince
American journalist (Amber) goes undercover as a tutor in a fictional European royal family and ends up falling in love with the Prince (Richard). That’s a simple yet effective rom com plotline. The supporting characters are pretty great too, with Princess Emily and the Queen stealing a lot of scenes. The movie is packed with classic ‘royal’ moments: scenes of bad archery, a scene of Amber walking down a staircase in a ball gown to make an entrance, and horse riding in the snow. Think The Princess Diaries meets a white Christmas. A Christmas Prince ticks a lot of boxes, but it can be a little hard to suspend your disbelief and accept that people really can forgive a mountain of lies and fall in love.
4. Christmas Inheritance
The first half of Christmas Inheritance was just… bad. The plotline can be summed up as: rich girl from New York City goes undercover in a small town and learns to be human by interacting with ‘poor’ (middle class and white) people for three days. There is, I kid you not, a montage of her learning how to do housework. That is the level of cringe this film is at. But the romance in the second half was a redeeming feature. Ellie and Jake get mad at each other and make it up by doing genuinely nice things to help one another. To round it out, there’s even a very cheesy Christmas dance in the final scene. By far, this is the Netflix movie to watch if you want to hear a lot of Christmas music and see Christmas themed ice sculptures. So much Christmas.
5. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
They didn’t need to make a second movie. The problem with rom coms is that perfect happy endings do not lend themselves to sequels. There is nothing left to develop. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding is an extension of the first movie but with no plot. Plus Amber now has a blog about her engagement. Which means a lot of cringey voiceovers. The movie is (surprise!) focused on the royal wedding. That situation could have made for some funny family tension or other drama. Nope. Instead there’s a plot to steal the throne from Richard. The problems are contrived and just not that entertaining. Even while hate-watching once I realised the movie was bad, it’s just boring. The most entertaining element of the movie was getting an impression of what Americans think European royalty are like. Plus an adorable sub-plot about the young Princess’ school play and her crush on the male lead. But overall, it’s not worth a watch.Support Villainesse