Boy, talk about dodging a bullet. I almost reviewed “Royalteen: Princess Margrethe” before watching the prequel about a troubled Norwegian girl who moves to a high school that includes members of the Norwegian royal family.
Sure, “Royalteen,” the first film, is choppy, episodic and soap operatic in that Young Adult fiction way. It feels incomplete because it pretty much is.
But as the sequel is about the bitchy meangirl princess twin of Prince Karl Johan, who goes by “Kalle (Mathias Storhøi), I guess you pretty much need to see Margrethe (Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne) at her worst, which lets us judge the dickens out of her as she picks on traumatized Lena (Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne) before whatever secret shame/pain Margrethe reveals about herself in the sequel which is all about her.
Or maybe she just gets what she has coming to her. I can’t wait to find out.
Lena is 17 and starting at a new school which the children of the royal family attend. Dad (Petter Width Kristiansen) grumps about “tax dollars” going to pay for extra security and what not for kids his wife, Lena’s mom (Veslemøy Mørkrid) insist her daughter address as “Your Royal Highness.”
Lena seems self-possessed enough not to be bowled over by their celebrity. Kalle, who has class with her, has a social media rep as a party animal and “f—boy.” And friendly school influencer Tess (Ina Dajanna Ervik) is persona non grata to the snooty Margrethe.
Lena should be hearing alarm bells.
But the charming, easygoing Kalle starts flirting and “paranoid” Margrethe starts fuming. What’s Lena getting herself into? Aside from social media celebrity, hedonistic pool parties or rides on the very expensive royal motorboat?
Not a euphemism, BTW.
Lena finds herself sabotaged (we suspect) by Margrethe in one instance, and cruelly set up by her in another.
The behavior of one and all in this teen dramedy seems a tad off. Perhaps they’ve read the script to the sequel and know better than to get too worked-up over an assault, a big revelation, a royal threat that would, in a democratic country’s public school, invite an ass-whipping.
The Around the World with Netflix culture clash here is how relaxed Lena’s parents are about her motoring off for a sleepover weekend with the Future King and how her Dad is concerned but cool when she comes home blitzed and vomiting. He gets an inventory on what she’s imbibed.
“Are you on anything else?” he asks, matter of factly, in Norwegian with subtitles, or dubbed into English.
The players are pretty and rather blase, I have to say — adults and children — save for Margrethe, who is a real rhymes-with-rich-and-witch.
Serious subjects like anxiety, birth control and teen pregnancy are discussed but not actually addressed.
And then, despite all the threats and ill-use and cruelty, everything is painted-over for an abrupt finale that leaves nothing resolved, no lessons learned and more questions than answers about the sequel to come.
As I said, and as you can see from the star rating below, I can hardly wait for that. No. Seriously.
Rating: TV-MA, teen sex, teen drug and alcohol abuse, profanity
Cast: Ines Høysæter Asserson, Mathias Storhøi, Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne, Ina Dajanna Ervik, Veslemøy Mørkrid, Frode Winther and Petter Width Kristiansen
Credits: Directed by Per-Olav Sørensen and Emilie Beck, scripted by Ester Schartum-Hansen and Per-Olav Sørensen, based on the novel by Randi Fuglehaug and Anne Gunn Halvorsen. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:47