It's honestly hard to know where to start with this extraordinarily bad movie that manages to miss the mark over and over. I went into this film with an open mind despite finding Merritt Patterson's acting bland in the past, and truth be told, it has unfortunately yet to improve. She drags this movie down considerably with her inauthentic acting, which veers the production occasionally into moments where it feels like one is watching a high school play rather than a Hallmark movie.
Unfotunately, her talents are not the only problem for this film. Moment after moment simply ruins the suspension of disbelief necessary for a good movie. For instance, how is it that any member of the royal family can wander about the town so easily without any disguise or precautions necessary? The king, his daughter, and his aunt all roam about town with little more than the very rare photograph calmly snapped of them, no security in sight. This royal ignorance is cranked up to eleven when at several professional functions (read: dinners and balls held in the palace where one must wear only their finest clothes), the man has literally no one to speak to (or approaching him) except for his love interest Katie. As a matter of fact, we rarely see King Alex do any work whatsoever (one of the few instances of this I can drum up is one night when he is seen laboring over seating arrangements, a task quickly forgotten in order to make hot chocolate with Katie), which no doubt paints a truly idealistic picture of just how much freetime members of a royal family have at any given point in their lives--never mind that he is always seen rejecting his daughter's invitations to do pretty much anything because of how monumentally busy he is. To drive home this character's utter absurdity, his only personal conundrum in this entire movie is that the public views him as a Grinch, unlike his festive father.
Meanwhile, Alex's daughter Christina, caught in a truly puzzling hero worship of Katie and her best friend Jessica, recruits the two ladies for an ice skating performance to be held at the palace for Christmas in order to reverse her father's reputation as a Scrooge, the monarchy's most dire issue at present. Christina fangirls over the two, instantly recognizing them, despite the fact that it's pointed out that Katie has only ever almost been to the Olympics--still, a princess from another country identifies her instantly even though she is, for all intents and purposes, a nobody in the ice skating world compared to all the Olympic medalists that receive far more attention and coverage. This blossoms into an easy friendship with Katie that somehow withstands betrayal at every turn, as Katie refuses to practice on the ice with Christina (or at all), and abandons her at the last minute to deal with the performance and her stage fright alone. When she returns just in the nick of time, however, Christina is still thrilled to see her, not harboring an ounce of resentment over Katie's escape act.
And despite the fact that the performance is built up to all the way up to the end of the movie, all the drama leading up to it ultimately disappoints. The entire performance--which is inexplicably televised even in New Jersey--is little more than Alex giving a short speech and standing in the center of the ice rink with his daughter while ice skaters proceed to skate around them. Even Katie, coming back not only to reclaim her queen role but also step out on the ice in the first time since a career-stopping injury, does nothing more complicated than a Biellmann spin.
To add insult to injury, Alex and Katie have absolutely no chemistry. Some of their interactions are absolutely ridiculous, such as Katie complaining about the lack of Christmas decorations in a palace that is already wholly bedecked with garlands and holly, or when Katie attempts to help Alex prepare Christmas presents for Alex's staff (a staff which is never seen in the film--as a matter of fact, aside from those involved with the ice skating, the only other person ever seen interacting with Alex is his aunt and righthand man Nicholas, who he treats alternatively as an employee or as a friend, depending on his mood) and the two of them wander through the shops where no one takes any notice of them aside from one dumstruck cashier.
The only bright spot in this film--and the resulting two stars--comes from the romantic subplot of Katie's friend Jessica and Alex's friend Nicholas, the two of whom have exceedingly better chemistry and behave much more believably fond of one another.
Overall, this movie made it seem like Hallmark is growing bored of its own royal Christmas trope, which has been milked dry at this point with already much better results (A Royal Christmas, A Princess for Christmas, Crown for Christmas). The only surprise was that this movie lacked both a pre-approved, snobby fiance with a title or an overbearing parent, although this movie might've needed both, as it was desperately lacking conflict and on some occasions, even plot.
Christmas at the Palace
Christmas at the Palace
Katie, a former professional ice skater (Patterson), is hired by the king of San Senova, Alexander, to help his daughter in a Christmas ice skating performance. As Katie spends time in the castle and with the king, she and Alex begin to develop feelings for each other and ultimately fall in love. But will the tradition-loving people of San Senova allow their king to make a foreigner their queen?
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 01, 2021 at 03:42 PM