Nobody sets out to make cinematic pablum as bland as “The Royal Treatment.” Then again, as there are entire TV channels devoted to edge-free “meet a prince” female wish-fulfillment fare, maybe they do.
Apparently, Netflix is getting into that business as well.
A movie with dull leads, scripted by a veteran of second tier sitcoms and helmed by an even less promising director, it started life flavorless and nobody added even a hint of spice along the way.
Two supporting players, acting as if they’ve got nothing to lose so they might as well have some fun, steal the picture without even trying. Not that there’s much to steal.
“Royal” is a Laura Marano star vehicle, and the onetime child starlet (“Austin & Ally”) dials up the “perky” as Izzy, a very Italian New Yorker who runs the struggling family hair salon and charms everybody in her corner of 183rd St. (The Bronx?) as she does.
One day, a misdial from visiting royalty sees her summoned to give a haircut to the guy the newspapers are calling “The Hot Prince” (Mena Massoud, who starred in the live-action “Aladdin”). Izzy’s feistiness intrigues him. As he’s about to marry, and the little European principality where he lives needs some sassy New York stylists to primp one and all for the wedding, Izzy and her garish pals Lola and Destiny are off to Lavonia to bedazzle every Euro-stiff within reach.
Naturally, Izzy finds herself coming between the prince and his rich, airheaded Texas intended (Phoenix Connolly). But even that potential conflict is smothered in the crib as this Holly Hester script just has no room for conflict — you know, the stuff DRAMA is made of.
I’d quote clever snippets of dialogue, but there aren’t any. I’d plug the performances, but the leads are as colorless as they are pretty. Even the standard-issue “snippy” royal valet (Cameron Rhodes) is rendered less interesting than the vapid character “type” he’s meant to be.
The one corner of “Treatment” where things threaten to spark to life is in the war of wills between the French-accented palace wedding planner (Sonia Gray) and Izzy’s two colorful hair and makeup pals (Grace Bentley-Tsibuah, Chelsie Preston Crayford). They have the voices, the wardrobe and the brass to make even the most exhausted “MAKE-over!” scene pop, just a little.
Everything else in “The Royal Treatment” is as tedious and common as all involved could make it.
Cast: Laura Marano, Mena Massoud, Grace Bentley-Tsibuah, Chelsie Preston Crayford, Sonia Gray and Cameron Rhodes.
Credits: Directed by Rick Jacobson, scripted by Holly Hester. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:36