ROB THOMAS. First Howie Day. Then Train. Now ROB THOMAS? What year is it? Truly, are my friends from high school running Hallmark now? Rob Thomas is shepherding us through a “A Royal Queens Christmas.” I never in my life thought I would see the day. Since when is Rob Thomas is a Hallmark fan? And has Rob Thomas really had the same haircut for last 20 years? These are the questions that plagued me early in this movie. What is happening over at Hallmark? Does the same thing that happens to the cherished actors of my youth also happen to the pop stars of my youth? One way or another they find their way to Hallmark? I guess. Okay let’s get after this one.
This movie takes place in Queens. Don’t worry if you didn’t catch that right away. YOU WILL FIND OUT SOON ENOUGH. Also, people with Italian heritage seem to live in Queens. DON’T WORRY YOU WILL FIGURE THIS OUT TOO. Right out the gate, an Italian lady is Italian ladying; trying to set up her eligible son with our leading lady DD. Actually, it’s unfair of me to say this is just an Italian lady thing. I think it is just a mother of a single person thing. So, forgive me. Also, DD’s sweater is amazing so no wonder this woman wants her in her life. Meanwhile, our prince, Collin just wants to play the piano.
Next, we viewers witness the saddest Royal tree lighting in history. After that sad display of Christmas, Collin learns he will be heading to New York, you know, a place with a rich royal tradition, to announce himself as an emerging Head of State.
Back at home, DD has a super Italian conversation with her motha. She was in the military and is now trying to figure out what’s next. The mom even says capiche just in case you didn’t believe they were really Italian.
In New York, Collin just wants to play the piano in the lobby of his hotel. Then, somehow, he smashes right into DD and smashes all the pastries she’s carrying. DD and her cousin Zoe are hoping to win the bid to provide pastries for the “Children’s Charity” function later that week. Collin offers to pay for the damaged baked good and she tells him he can’t just buy his way out of this. But like, that’s kind of exactly what he could do. She takes the smashed pastries back to the kitchen and tells her side of the story to the chefs in charge, one of which is Eddie, Zoe’s long time fiancé. They all agree that even though the pastries are smashed, it likely has not altered their taste. That is my baking motto in general. It may not be pretty but it will taste good! DD negotiates pretty hard to secure the pastry gig.
Collin can’t help himself. He starts playing in the lobby and gets tips. Collin’s longsuffering assistant, Whidby tells Collin his dad is desperate to retire and it’s time to start getting serious about stepping in for him. How does Queen Elizabeth stay in authority until she’s 110 but every other Head of State wants to retire early? Oh, and Collin HAS to be married to take over. That’s the rule.
DD’s dad calls her as she is leaving the hotel to tell her can’t play piano for her children’s choir. Conveniently, she hears Collin jamming out in the lobby. Collin, formally introduces himself, making up a last name on the fly when a St. Bernard happens to stroll by in the lobby. Not your best, Collin. DD asks him to play that night for choir rehearsal to make up for smashing the pastries. He agrees and they just head right to rehearsal. Everyone is feeling really brave to travel to Queens together. Luckily, neither lead murders the other on the way. At rehearsal, Collin thinks the arrangement they’re using for a children’s music program is a bit dull. DD starts singing “Tradition” and Collin has a meltdown as he deals with his own personal demons on that matter. He whips up his own version of Joy to the World and the kids are able to follow right along! Okay after 2 seconds of practice, they’re done. DD fills Collin in on all the neighborhood’s Christmas traditions. It does all sound really lovely. Oh, and then just a casual mention that she was in the military. DD’s dad, Mickey, arrives and invites Collin to dinner over DD’s objections. Has this family mentioned they’re Italian? Collin agrees and leaves his poor assistant hanging.
DD keeps her scarf on during dinner. DD calls her mom, Ma. And she refers to her that way when talk to Collin. She’s not Collin’s mom, DD. After dinner, Collin makes a joke about using dry towels to dry dishes and it goes right over DD’s head. Collin keeps telling people he works for his family business. He says he’s in “management.” That’s cute. DD gives him some largely unhelpful advice considering his situation. After the dishes are all done, Collin plans to head out, but “Joey D” says the roads are too bad. They offer to make up the couch for him. Can you IMAGINE! I am a peasant; but I am also in my thirties. So, I have no interest in sleeping on a couch under any circumstance. Whidby is understandably concerned about this whole situation but what can you do? Collin asks Whidby why he doesn’t have a surname. But he probably does! Queen Elizabeth and her family all have surnames even though they don’t ever use them.
Surprisingly, Collin gets a good night’s sleep on the couch in Queens. He must be under 30. Whidby, meanwhile, is fully dressed and having a lovely breakfast. He should just enjoy himself. DD fills Collin in on a neighborhood tradition of being paired with a kid to make snowmen after the first big snowfall. I have questions. Who does the pairing? How many kids are there? Is school cancelled? What if the first snow does not produce the right kind of snow for snowmen?
Anyway, at this point, Whidby realizes he will have to go retrieve Collin because he likely has no plans to return on his own. However, this royal pair are just on their own in NYC. Whidby doesn’t have a car or driver to get himself to Queens. And the concierge at the hotel can’t help him because all the cars are taken for the big event. That seems unlikely. Anyway, Whidby has to take the SUBWAY. Can you imagine?
Back in Queens, Collin and DD definitely make a snowman out of real snow. Then Zoe arrives. She slept in “for once in her life.” And that is why I could never run a bakery. I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night to get everything ready.
Zoe and her fiancé have been engaged for 2 years and together for TEN. What in the world. Do they even like each other? Whidby arrives, creeping around a tree, to watch Collin and DD in the midst of a snowball fight. Collin obviously lost track of time but tells DD that he will cover the remaining rehearsals for her dad. Whidby is like, wait what now? We have family obligations you silly goose! But Collin doesn’t want to do any of that. At rehearsal, DD and Collin realize they both got piano Christmas tree ornaments from their grandparent. Isn’t that just the darndest thing?
After rehearsal, we get a little Christmas tree decorating montage as the whole gang decorates the neighborhood tree. It is WAY better than the royal tree from earlier.
Later, somehow, Collin is tasked with putting the star on the top of the tree at the hotel? Cool. Collin has some IDEAS for Christmas traditions back home.
DD admits to her friend Zoe that she likes Collin even though he’ll be leaving soon. Collin calls her up to do some sightseeing. They really get to know each other. DD shares about her old boyfriend. It’s boring. Then DD takes Collin to a very intensely decorated bar. It is the most Hallmark decorated venue I’ve ever seen! Apparently, they leave it that way year round.
Oh finally. Rob Thomas checks in again. Rob’s Christmas album was inspired by Hallmark movies. Did they REALLY. If he did, that is honestly really wild. He had them playing in his studio to feel Christmas vibes while he recorded. This is so amusing to me I can’t even articulate it.
Uh Oh. Collin’s parents have arrived. Early. And they’ve brought Adriana, Collin’s childhood friend. A woman Collin considers a sister. They think it would be super fun to surprise Collin at the children’s art program.
Meanwhile, Collin is dressed as the world’s most pathetic Santa. He didn’t even bother stuffing his jacket with fluff. Or are they all dressed up as no reason? DD’s family included him in their secret Santa exchange which is sweet. But they get him the ugliest keyboard scarf. He is much too polite about receiving this gift. He kisses DD on the cheek and then his parents show up. They are not pleased with how he’s dressed, etc… Also, DD’s grandma was the only one who bothered to google Collin and knew the whole time he was a prince.
DD is obviously mad and doesn’t think he can play the Christmas program. He’s like, no I can still play the piano. And she’s like no you’re a prince. And he’s like, yeah and that means you can count on me to meet my obligation. And she’s like, oh now it’s an obligation? And he’s like wait, what? No I just told you I’d do it still like I planned? And she’s like no, the kids will just sing acapella. And Collin and I have NO idea what just happened.
Later, DD’s family tells her to get a grip.
Collin’s parents want him to spend the whole day with Adriana. He tells them he agreed to play at the recital that night, but his parents tell him to cancel it so he can go to dinner with Adriana. So, he does agree to hang with her during the day. She just wants to SHOP. However, she is a fun and breezy gal and tells him they can just eat after the recital. I would prefer to eat BEFORE, but that’s just me.
Collin makes it in time for the recital and DD is absolutely FRIGID to him. The kids have hand motions and dances for the songs. It’s fine. And Collin gets to play his jazzed up versions of each song too.
The next day, I LEARN FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT DD HAS A DOG. Also, her mom gives her a nice little pep talk and then reads her text messages. She hides DD’s ornament in her jacket pocket. I don’t really know why.
Meanwhile, Collin gets a little pep talk of his own! But his is about marrying Adriana. The silver lining is that they would like him to play the piano at more royal events. They are doing their best though aren’t they?
Ava’s mom (a recital participant) comes into the bakery to talk to DD about bringing in more art and music programs into the school-after school enrichment programs. She wonders if DD might be interested in setting up some programs like that? Oh, and don’t forget that DD is still pretty salty about the whole Adriana business.
DD arrives AT THE HOTEL after ignoring all Collin’s calls. She’s there to supply all the pastries for that general children’s charity event. Whidby manages to send Collin a coherent text that DD is there. Luckily, Collin makes it down to the kitchen in time to catch DD. He tells her how he feels about her! DD is like, who cares? Then she mixes some metaphors but tells him there is just no way to make it work. I mean, she’s not wrong. I think Meghan Markle has taught us all a lesson about the downsides of marrying a prince. After that whole mess, Collin runs into Adriana. Luckily Collin and Adriana feel the same way about each other-that they DON’T like each other that way.
Collins parents know that Collin and Adriana don’t want to marry each other but they are going to make them get married anyway. This is very Charles and Diana isn’t it? Except maybe Adriana is Camilla but Charles doesn’t actually want to marry her, he wants to marry Diana? Is that how it works?
It’s the night of the big generic Charity Ball. This is where Collin’s parents plan to announce his engagement. Except, instead, they announce that they’ve realized they are not very old and don’t have to retire to hand over more formal obligations. They casually discuss his possible abdication as well. I hope it doesn’t have generations of repercussions like it did in England! Anyway, Collin rushes off from the party to find DD.
DD and her family are down at the Wishing Tree. DD’s mom wants her to put the piano ornament on the tree. I would never. That seems like a cherished heirloom! Collin makes it just in time for DD to open her eyes! He whips out HIS piano ornament. Collin presumes that DD’s wish was about him. They each hang their piano ornaments on the tree and then they KISS. I don’t think they have any discussion about how they would actually make such a relationship work and who would go where. But SEMANTICS! Not for us to worry about.
So, that was that movie. It was not too bad honestly. I don’t love royal movies because they are SO unrealistic and all the networks have to make up fake countries and jump through all these hoops to make it feasible that the royal would meet and marry a “commoner.” And again, like, is the goal for this woman to be scooped up and taken to these random countries to live alone? Is that the dream we’re all supposed to have? To uproot out whole lives? It just doesn’t do it for me. But all that aside, I liked these two actors. I liked them together. I love a good Christmas bakery. And I love piano music. So that’s where I’m at for this one. What did you think?