Nicolas Cage teams up with director Kristófer K. Borgli for the trippy comedic drama Dream Scenario, produced by A24. Paul Matthews (Cage) is an unfortunate family man and professor living with his wife Janet (Julianne Nicholson) and daughters Sophie (Lily Bird) and Hannah (Jessica Clement) amid the bane of his existence. One day, he runs into Claire, a journalist ex-girlfriend who tells him he’s been in her dreams.
Honest chemistry from the leads can’t save The Royal Treatment from clichés
After focusing on television series such as Spartacus and Ash vs. Evil Dead, director Rick Jacobson returns to features in Netflix’s, The Royal Treatment. Holly Hester pens the film, a standard romantic comedy full of tropes that viewers will recognize instantly. Isabella (Laura Marano) runs her own salon and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, while Prince Thomas (Mena Massoud) runs his own country and is about to marry for duty rather than love. When Izzy and her fellow stylists get the opportunity of a lifetime to do the hair for the royal wedding, she and Prince Thomas learn that taking control of their destiny requires following their hearts.
The Royal Treatment introduces us to our heroine and hero in a typical fashion, allowing us to instantly like the characters. When we first meet Isabella or Izzy, as she prefers, she is smiling, and it is clear she is the apple of her community’s eye. I was not too familiar with Laura Marano, but The Royal Treatment was a nice introduction to her talents. While the screenplay does follow the standard rom-com tropes (i.e., a dance scene, a misunderstanding towards the climax, and someone charming the hearts of everyone around her), I will give Holly Hester credit for avoiding situations where Isabella could have easily been a comedic foil in a fish out of water setting.
Outside of his abysmal singing voice during his cover of “A Whole New World” in 2019’s Aladdin, Mena Massoud brings a likable charm to the role of Thomas. Like Izzy’s arc, the script avoids numerous occasions for a cheap laugh at the expense of Thomas being out of touch with life outside of his royalty. Naturally, there is a meet-cute situation for Thomas and Izzy. Moreover, I suppose you are wondering what a meet-cute is. In that case, scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the two potential partners by depicting an initial clash of personalities or beliefs, an embarrassing situation, or introducing a comical misunderstanding or mistaken identity situation.
The meet-cute for The Royal Treatment occurs during a haircut scene, but the film does not take the scenario as far as possible. Director Rick Jacobson wisely chooses to keep the movie moving quickly, with The Royal Treatment clocking in at only ninety–five minutes. That said, towards the end of the movie, there are numerous unresolved plot lines, which play a part in my final grade for the film. This movie is the rare instance where maybe ten minutes should have been added to the film to tighten up the resolution.
In addition, the supporting cast all fall into stereotypical character templates, with no one offering anything of merit to the film. The Royal Treatment is meant to highlight the talents of Laura Marano and Mena Massoud, in which it does succeed. Pre-teen girls may find something to enjoy in the film, however, due to the weak third act and clichés, other moviegoers may want to skip this one.
Final Grade C-
The Royal Treatment is available to stream on Netflix tomorrow January 20th .
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