Holiday Watch: Once Upon a Holiday

When an actual, honest-to-goodness royal princess runs off from her official obligations and duties for a couple of days to see how the other half lives, she winds up falling for a good Samaritan who is unaware of her real identity during the holiday season. Will her true love still feel the same way once he learns the truth? Photo: Briana Evigan, Paul Campbell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Marcel Williams

Katie, a time-crunched princess from Montsaurai, wants just one hour to visit a New York art museum. Just one hour. Her aunt will hear nothing of it, so when an opening presents itself, Katie sneaks away.

Early on Katie’s (Briana Evigan) adventure, her camera (a gift from her late mother) and her purse are stolen. This causes her to cross paths with Jack Langdon (Paul Campbell), a contractor who does remodeling and restoration. They briefly part as Katie is testing her new independence, but finds herself relying on the kindness of Jack to keep her safe.

Jack’s sister Emma comes in to help clothe Katie. Little do any of them know that Emma’s aggressively ladder-climbing reporter boyfriend is on to this story of a missing princess that he’s sure will be his ticket to the big leagues (if not for his cold opportunistic heart).

Katie is forced to eventually come clean about her being royal and all, which leads to her returning to her duties — but not until Jack makes sure she finally gets her hour at the museum. She returns to Montsaurai in time to meet her Christmas duties only to find Jack there…much to the delight of the crowd as the couple snog.

History has shown that royal-on-the-run stories are very difficult to pull off, and such is the case here. Despite wanting desperately to succeed, the fact is that the various elements never quite clicked.

In many places, the acting was obvious. Perhaps worse is that it didn’t seem like the two principals had the degree of chemistry you’d hope for in a romance. At best they seemed like siblings who liked hanging around each other — for their first kiss was sibling-level at best.

The story, too, lacked any sense of urgency. Yes, there was the ticking clock of getting the princess back home to continue tradition, and there was a search team doing their best to track her down, but it all seemed perfunctory. Even the denouement mostly went through the predictable motions before wrapping up. The scoring was mostly good, but there were noticeable dead areas.

Ross, the aggressive reporter, was too much for this more sedate story. Not only was he a questionable character to begin with, but he definitely clashed with all the other characters.

Once Upon a Holiday tried desperately to be good. A lot of the elements were there. Unfortunately, the chain had too many weak links for it all to hold together. While it might become one of those guilty-pleasure movies that work after some repeated views raise the familiarity quotient, the first view isn’t something I’d give a strong recommendation to.

2.75 of 5 


For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Marcel Williams

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