A still from The Royal Treatment
A still from The Royal Treatment

The Royal Treatment Movie Review: Mena Massoud, Laura Marano-starrer belongs in the bottom of the pile

Poor directing, writing and acting, and not to mention, the non-existent chemistry between the leads, relegates The Royal Treatment  to the bottom of the pile!
Rating:(1.5 / 5)

The Royal Treatment is a combination of poorly conceived cliches strung together to produce a less-than-ordinary rom-com. It follows the done-to-death tropes of will they, won’t they, oh, they almost did, to offer very little to a genre that could well do with some fresh perspective. What the romantic comedy needs is an infusion of new blood, and fast; failing which the same old stories get recycled on loop. To complicate matters, the acting in the genre’s most recent fare remains woefully subpar. This film falls into forgettable category as far as the viewing experience is concerned. There are no real moments that make you feel good, and this isn’t entirely due to the unrealistic nature of the narrative (all rom-coms, good or bad, are rooted in the idea of fantasy) but the non-existent chemistry between the leads. Laura Marano and Mena Massoud might as well be friends on screen, so I’m not sure what sparks everyone keeps talking about during the course of the story.

Director – Rick Jacobson
Cast – Laura Marano, Mena Massoud, Cameron Rhodes
Streaming On – Netflix

Marano’s character Izzy, an Italian American commoner from New York (unlike her Prince Charming of royal lineage), has an entourage of her own. Assisting in her mother’s salon as a hairdresser, she has her mom, grand mom, and her two over-the-top sidekick friends/assistants backing her up at every turn. She tries hard to come off as this happy-go-lucky person bent on being a young leader of her neighbourhood. Everyone appears to get along with her, especially the kids on her block. A chance haircut appointment with Prince Thomas of Lavania (Mena Massoud) is set to change the course of her mundane existence. 

Thomas lives a privileged life, far removed from that of Izzy. Though he strives to be a kind and decent man, he is served hand and foot, and is sheltered beyond measure. His marriage has been fixed to a young woman from a wealthy Texan family; he has no say in the union, apparently, and like most of his life, must do as he’s told.

There are more than a fair share of scenes or plot points in the film that must be called into question, either for their writing or their sheer predictability. For instance, even though Izzy and her two assistants travel from New York to Lavania for the wedding’s hair and makeup, we see only the lead character’s sidekicks prepping away. Despite Izzy being the senior stylist on show, all we watch her do is being an inquisitive tourist — soaking in the town’s culture, rubbing shoulders with the locals and befriending the retinue of staff at the castle — as her assistant friends are being rigorously examined for their skills. The exchange between Izzy and Thomas when the former takes the prince on a night around town is a cringeworthy cliché if there ever was one. Izzy attempts to bring Thomas out of his shell, inspiring him to take more responsibility and understand his people better, while Thomas tells Izzy that she could live life to her truest potential if she so wished, and that she is an “extraordinary person.” This lazy writing can be chalked up to a mishmash of scenes lifted from several rom coms of the past. The biggest dampener in The Royal Treatment is the chemistry between the leads. If context weren’t provided, one could easily pass them off as friends or acquaintances. “That look” that Izzy accuses Thomas of having is nothing but a deadpan, awkward stare, a stare that can be interpreted as anything under the sun, with the only exception of amorous intentions.

The acting doesn’t swoop in to save the day in this dreadfully below par effort. Even Cameron Rhodes (Prince Thomas’ butler), the one actor who does hold his own, is seen in a minor, supporting role. The Royal Treatment fails in all three major departments a film ought to be judged on – writing, acting and directing. With their unengaging narrative of a Prince, a commoner and an endless list of cliches in between, the makers have ensured that their audience will not be extended the same courtesy as their grand title! Skip these 90 minutes to save yourself some precious time, and more importantly, mental energy.

Cinema Express