tv & movies

‘The Royal Treatment’ movie review: Another ho-hum Netflix romance

A New York hairdresser and a royal prince strike up an unlikely romance in this tiringly predictable watch

Gone are the days when a girl would sit around and wait for a Prince Charming to come and save her. Today, she can sweep the prince off his feet… and also change the world?

The Royal Treatment, Netflix’s latest addition to its long list of rom-coms, is an old tale packaged anew. With Laura Marano and Mena Massoud in the lead roles, the film follows the life of Isabella/ Izzy, a New York hairdresser, and her chance encounter with Prince Thomas.

The free-spirited Izzy, who is stuck running her mother’s small hairdressing salon, is a free spirit with a quintessential heart of gold. She distributes doughnuts to strangers, gives free haircuts to children, miraculously puts out fires… and also stands up against inequality.

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A fateful chance opportunity to style the hair of Prince Thomas intertwines her life with that of the royal family. The royal life in the fictional world of Lavania — where the Prince and his family live —is true to anyone’s imagination, and involves a sprawling castle, butlers and naturally, dream weddings.

In one scene, Izzy’s friends Lolo and Destiny are given a hair and make-up orientation session where they are told that royal hair is vastly different from the hair of commoners. Royal hair “flows, but does not move,” they are informed politely. (!).

The Royal Treatment

  • Director: Rick Jacobson
  • Cast: Laura Marano, Mena Massoud, Cameron Rhodes, Chelsie Preston-Crayford, Sonia Gray, Jacque Drew, Jen Van Epps, Amanda Billing, James Gaylyn, Taylor Barrett, Jay Simon and Grace Bentley-Tsibuah
  • Storyline: Sparks predictably fly when Izzy, a New York hairdresser, gets an opportunity to style a prince
  • Duration: 97 minutes

Juxtaposed amongst them are the commoners in Lavania who, although have limited means to go by, live their lives dancing and singing. Everyone in this kingdom also speaks in a different accent which can seem a bit odd, even though Izzy describes the place as a “melting pot”.

Eventually, the ever-smiling Izzy introduces Prince Thomas to the world outside his castle, is brutally honest to his face, and has plans to change the world and its inequalities; all of the traits that make him fall in love with her.

The film is far from being perfect, as the storyline is marked with inconsistencies, the characters seem caricaturish, and there seems to be no real conflict in the love story that is tiringly predictable. There’s nothing in this film that you already haven’t seen in countless such rom-coms, many of which have come on Netflix itself in the last couple of years.

But what does works in the movie’s favour is the cast. Both the leading stars understand this genre to the tee; Mena Massoud is best known for playing Aladdin, and Laura Marano has acted in films like A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish, Disney’s Austin & Ally, The Perfect Date, and more. The soundtrack by John R. Graham is also soulful and fits in snugly with the storyline.

While the movie may fail to tickle any of your brain cells, at a time when the outside world is as harsh as it gets, fantasies like this one could offer a temporary escape from reality.

The Royal Treatment is currently streaming on Netflix

 

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