When The Royal Treatment was first announced, it looked sweet enough. With its premise of a New York hairdresser Izzy (Laura Marano) crossing paths with Prince Thomas (Mena Massoud), there really wasn’t much else romance fans needed to know. With an endearing premise carried by more endearing leads, this movie had its own charm that makes for an enjoyable enough journey.
The story is cute enough, and involves some of the best “commoner meets royal” tropes. Izzy is an Average Jane, working in a service industry job. When she meets Prince Thomas, she shows him the lives of the common folk, from whom the Prince is clearly disconnected. For lovers of the ‘Commoner’-royal dynamic, there is certainly a lot of sugary sweetness in this movie. Light on plot and heavy on the shots of gorgeous people walking around gorgeous locales, it’s eye candy from beginning to end. Complete with timeless lessons from an outsider for a royal on how to actually treat people, this is royal deliciousness dialed up.
I remain so conflicted about seeing Mena Massoud in this movie. He has talked openly about his difficulty in being hired in main roles after starring in the massive Disney’s Aladdin live-action reboot in the titular role, and the racism baked into the film industry. Although it’s great to see him as the leading man that he is, and as a Royal no less, I had a sinking feeling that he deserves so much more. Although starring in a Netflix project, his talent far outshined any of his co-workers. Although he completely shone in each and every scene he was in, he is clearly capable of so much more. Hopefully, however, this movie will be a stepping stone for him on his way to his next project.
Among the best things that can be said about including Massoud in this movie was that they didn’t make him do the terrible accents that his poor coworkers were compelled to do. The incredibly over-exaggerated New York accents were laughable. If this in itself was an attempt at comedy, it didn’t work. The generic “European” accents were among the worst in recent memory. It was such a weird choice in the modern age when making fun of people for speaking differently gets raised eyebrows more than uproarious laughs…presumably.
The minor characters through this movie were endearing themselves, and yet were given precious little screen time. The screen time that they were given involved a lot of unnecessary yelling which when combined with the awful accents was incredibly distracting. There was definitely the hint of a story with Izzy’s mother and why she felt the need to be so overprotective of her daughter. The strongest moments were between Izzy’s fellow hairdressers and the palace staff. Their conflict was the most engaging of the entire movie, and also made the most sense.
The people of the fictional Lavania could have also been compelling. They could have explored what the people thought of their monarchs, considering how out of touch the royal family was presented as being. With the backdrop of gorgeous scenery, this could have been a more ground-level look at the fictional country. If the royal family truly was so out of touch in the modern age, it’s shocking to think there wasn’t even the hint of revolutionary feeling. Throw a hairdresser from New York into the middle of that, and we could have had a romantic comedy/drama for the ages.
The Royal Treatment is fluff of the best kind, and is worth the watch if you’re looking for something pretty and comforting to look at. At its core, however, it missed several crucial opportunities to tell engaging stories. Not every movie has to be great, however. Sometimes, we just need to see beautiful people running around a beautiful fake country. The Royal Treatment delivers that in spades.
The Royal Treatment is now available to stream on Netflix.