Every year Netflix releases trash Christmas movies. They’re not meant to be watched by reasonable adults. Honestly, they really shouldn’t be seen by anyone, children included. But if you share the experience with friends or family while enjoying a few cocktails, they’re as fun to roast as chestnuts.
But this year, I made a grave mistake. I watched A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby alone.
This wasn’t my first foray into Netflix’s Christmas Prince series and its abject rubbishness, after all. The Royal Baby, the third movie in the series, continues the story of Prince, and later, King, Richard of the fictional country Aldovia and his romance with ambitious New York City blogger Amber. This time around, Queen Amber is nine months pregnant with their first child as the king and queen of Penglia (another fictional country) visit to renew a centuries-old treaty.
I’d watched the first two movies with friends while drinking and smoking and decorating a Christmas tree, the ideal (and again, only) setting. But surely I could get through 85 minutes of it on my own to spit out another article about it. How bad could The Royal Baby truly be?
And then the movie started. Within minutes, I realized something terrible—no one was reacting to my groans of frustration. My comments were met with silence. The bad acting, the inane plot lines, the awkward sex jokes, the 600-year-old treaty literally held together by yarn—it was all ripe for the roasting. But no one was there to hear it.
The Royal Baby is horrible from start to finish. After the (ceremonial) treaty goes missing the night before the signing, Queen Amber uses her investigative journalistic instincts (lol) to track down the thief. The treaty is returned and signed, the thief punished and tensions between the two countries are healed just in time for the baby to be born. It finishes exactly where you’d expect it to, providing zero emotional insight or experience along the way.
But The Royal Baby (and all the Christmas Prince movies) are not bad in the way that, say, Gotti is bad. Its dreadfulness is self-aware to the point where it feels like the entire production is leaning into it in an effort to create blind holiday whimsy. The writing is corny and oversimplified on purpose. The actors oversell facial expressions and fake laughs. The palace sets are intentionally gaudy to the point of absurdity. Everywhere you look, there’s a new thing to point out and make fun of, and it goes on for an hour and 20 minutes.
Less than a half hour into the movie, I’d fallen completely silent. I stopped analyzing every poorly written moment and foreign policy plot hole. My frustration washed away. I couldn’t even be mad. The Royal Baby was meant to be shared with friends. And I learned that the hard way.