“The Royal Treatment” is a real fairy tale with a modern approach. It is the often heard and familiar story of a prince who finds his true love among the commoners.
There’s little about the characters beyond what we learn at the start and how a few more details adjust our understanding of how we should feel about them. In this case, the smothered Prince Thomas of Lavania is in New York for his engagement party with hotel heiress Lauren (Phoenix Connolly). He needs a haircut, and his butler mistakenly schedules him an appointment with the hairdresser at a ramshackle beauty salon in the suburbs called Bellissime.
When brave beauty salon owner Izzy arrives, the prince finds himself drawn to her indomitable spirit. And, when his bride’s family seeks a hairstylist for the wedding in Lavania, the prince and his butler promptly recommend Izzy and her team.
After Izzy and her two assistants, Destiny (Chelsie Preston Crayford) and Lola (Grace Bentley-Tsibuah), arrive in Lavania, and when they both visit a market area called “Uber die Gliese”, meaning , on the tracks, the prince realizes that Izzy has a heart of gold.
Soon, both realize that their lives are bound together by family obligations and duties, and naturally, romantic sparks innocently begin to fly. But then reality kicks in, and how their fates become more intertwined forms the crux of this tale.
Aside from the romance, which is built on tropes typically espoused in Disney films, the characters are paper thin, and the plot lacks layers and feels frothy even when talking about injustice, gentrification and even from Gandhi’s principle of being the change you want to see in the world. Moreover, the conflict, treated in a very unconventional style and a modern approach, robs the film of any possibility of complexity.
On the production front, despite being put together with ace production values, the setting and characters seem like a deliberate mix of style, culture and race.
As for performance, film is Marano’s canvas, and she excels in every frame. Massoud completes it with equal fervor. They’re both natural and lovely as individuals, but together their chemistry is just plain sweet and bland. Others in supporting roles deliver unfiltered performances that make them sparkle during their moments of on-screen glory.
Overall, this movie will appeal to those who love fairy tale romance.
–By Troy Ribeiro
Movie: The royal treatment
Director: Rick Jacobson
To throw: Laura Marano, Mena Massoud, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Grace Bentley-Tsibuah, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Cameron Rhodes, Phoenix Connolly, Amanda Billing, Jay Simon
Broadcast on: netflix
Duration: 97 minutes