The Royal Treatment review
The Royal Treatment is a pretty familiar tale. A dashing prince comes to town and is instantly smitten with a down on her luck hair stylist struggling to make ends meet. The smitten prince invites the stylist to do the hair and makeup for his royal wedding only to get entangled by her big heart and raw nature.
While the plot isn’t breaking new ground, The Royal Treatment makes for an (ahem) charming romance.
That’s largely thanks to the leads — Laura Marano (The Perfect Date) and Mena Massoud — who play off each other well and naturally fit into their roles of the city girl with big dreams and the prince eager to make a real mark on the world.
Marano is Izzy, who co-owns the family salon with her mother (Amanda Billing) and grandmother (Elizabeth Hawthorne, 30 Days of Night). Marano opts for a thick Italian accent that she occasionally forgets in some scenes, but she has a likable personality that makes Izzy endearing.
Izzy might be relatively young, but she’s the caretaker of her community making her daily rounds to work with a box of donuts to pass out to community center owner (James Gaylyn, Cowboy Bebop), the newsstand vendor (Kubé Jones-Neill) and her BFF co-workers Destiny (Chelsie Preston Crayford) and Lola (Grace Bentley-Tsibuah).
Running the salon isn’t Izzy’s true passion as she gets the biggest joy interacting with the children at the community center. And she’s been saving up her tips to take an international trip far away from the hustle and bustle in the city.
Izzy’s golden ticket arrives when Prince Thomas (Massoud) needs a haircut. His servant Walter (Cameron Rhodes) mistakenly mixes up Izzy’s salon for a high-end spot for the most elite clientele.
While she’s certainly not as prim and proper as most of Thomas’ regular company, he’s pleasantly taken aback by her straight-shooting demeanor.
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It’s frustrating and disappointing that Massoud hasn’t been flooded with roles since his breakout role in Aladdin.
He embodies the cool, young heartthrob that should have his choice of roles or at least be starring in as many Netflix romance drama/comedies as his schedule allows. Or maybe he just needs to get on Kevin Feige’s radar and get cast in a Marvel Studios film?
Desperate to make a good impression, Thomas invites Izzy, Destiny and Lola to his castle to handle the hair and makeup for the wedding party. It doesn’t take long for Izzy to start winning over the castle staff by taking an interest in them on a personal level. And the box of pastries doesn’t hurt either.
Soon, Izzy starts opening Thomas up to the notion that he can do so much more for the country by simply getting to know them.
Screenwriter Holly Heston (Sit.Stay.Love) deftly handles some potential movie derailing subplots. Destiny and Lola are used sparingly as over the top comic relief as opposed to forcing them along in every scene.
Thomas’ fiancé, Lauren (Phoenix Connolly) is thankfully not written as some cruel, scheming opportunist eager to get her seat in the throne. Instead, Lauren has her own agenda and business dreams she’d rather attain than an arranged marriage.
Thomas and Lauren’s parents also had the potential to be irritating characters whose primary purpose was to be the major obstacle for Thomas and Izzy. Heston gives them more nuance instead of having the parents act like tyrants.
Director Rick Jacobson (Ash vs. Evil Dead) keeps the film from lagging too much thanks to a brisk 96-minute run time. Jacobson adds one fairy tale type sequence where a street on the other side of the tracks (with special emphasis on characters stepping over the tracks) stands in for an elegant ballroom dance.
The sets feel somewhat closed in and giving the castle and country a somewhat claustrophobic feel. This is likely the challenge of shooting a smaller budget film during a pandemic.
One odd choice was to wrap up so many of the sublots via animated sequences during the end credits. Many of them were developed enough to warrant seeing the characters get their respective endings on camera.
That’s not a problem with Thomas and Izzy though. Their payoff includes the genre staple grand sweeping romantic gesture that neatly wraps their happily ever after.
The Royal Treatment doesn’t create a rom com revolution, but it’s a sweet and fun film that makes for an enjoyable Netflix night on the couch.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix
Check out Aladdin on Blu-Ray on Amazon.