And here we go…
It’s hard to believe the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been married for almost eight years now and have three kids. Who doesn’t remember all the excitement leading up to the wedding? There were Will and Kate masks, Will and Kate dolls, Will and Kate teaspoons, and let’s not forget the Will and Kate barf bags. Perhaps most kitschy of all were the two movies about William and Kate that premiered in the weeks before the wedding. Hallmark did one. Lifetime did the other. It wasn’t the first time Prince William had a movie made about him; there was a 2002 biopic about his grieving his mother’s death and his dealings with the paparazzi. It had a Dawson’s Creek feel to it, only much less wordy.
I’ll confess, Lifetime’s William and Kate is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s definitely not their worst film, as the jury’s still out on that one, but it does bear the unmistakable stamp of that infamous B-movie channel, and that means plenty of laughs and giggles. It’s painfully obvious that the shooting schedule of the movie was rushed so as to get it out before the wedding.
Lifetime wants very much for us to know that royal Adonis William (Nico Evers-Swindell) just wants to be himself and blend in at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Except he can’t because he’s The Prince That Every Girl Wants To Marry. In the first six minutes of the movie it’s mentioned about a dozen times in various ways with every major character present.
William has barely got into his room when a note slides under his door, followed by a guy in a tuxedo carrying a six-pack. He’s Ian Musgrave (Jonathan Patrick Moore), wingman extraordinaire.
Ian’s wingman days are numbered, as William and Destiny, er, Kate (Camilla Luddington) cross paths. He and Ian narrowly miss bumping into our heroine, who’s coming back from a jog (and she doesn’t even look sweaty, by the way). For her part, Kate’s jaw drops, and then she goes to her dorm room, where her friends, Olivia (Samantha Whittaker), Vanessa (Louise Linton) and Margaret (Trilby Glover) are dishing about the new arrival.
“He’s just a guy,” Kate says.
“A guy who happens to be handsome, rich, sexy, and the future king of England,” purrs snooty Margaret, throwing her cashmere sweater over her shoulder and sashaying from the room. Kate, Olivia and Vanessa burst out laughing.
Gee, tell us something we don’t know, Peggy.
Kate’s not imagining getting together with William because she has a boyfriend, Trevor (Theo Cross) who she’s madly in love with. Meanwhile, Wills is dating a blonde chick named Emily. Kate and her friends sit around the pub or the school cafeteria watching Wills and Emily and talk about how there’s no way Emily is going to be royalty. One guy, Derek (Richard Alan Reid), dryly remarks, “A prince does not get serious about a commoner.”
Heh heh. Famous last words. Hurr durr, how clever and suspenseful.
Of course, all those obstacles go down like bowling pins. Kate knocks William’s socks off at the school fashion show, and he keeps trying to kiss her. I could have sworn Kate bats her eyes at Wills when she reminds him that they’re just friends. Then our couple break up with their respective love interests. By this time Kate, William, Ian, and Olivia are sharing a flat by the school, where Wills burns the lasagna for dinner. William stares at Kate during a party they have at home, and there’s the lightest hint of romantic tension during the cleanup scene, although it can’t go too far with Derek passed out on the couch.
William and Kate are like two ships in the night. They sneak into each other’s rooms, they kiss in the rain, they dodge the paparazzi. Kate gets jealous of Wills’ childhood friend, Jecca Craig, and he wins her back with badly-sung karaoke(!). They feed each other lines straight out of dollar-store romance novels like, “I love the private you that no one gets to see but me.”
The movie has been criticized for its inaccuracies and it richly deserves them. Brits find it’s too Americanized– Olivia offers party guests chips, for one thing, and she doesn’t mean French fries. What’s more, The real Kate’s jaw did more than drop when she met William; she said she turned red in the face and “scuttled off.” The film also doesn’t begin to show the dynamic of the relationship, namely, the fun Kate and William had together–it was all sedate smiling and not much else. The movie didn’t even get the proposal right, as it shows Wills and Kate camping out on the African tundra, complete with Tiffany lamps, no less, when he’s thought to have popped the question in a secluded cabin in the shadow of Mount Kenya.
The locations were obviously cut rate. I’ve never been to England, although I would love to go, but even I could tell the supposed London streets were really filmed in LA. When Kate drives home to her family in Bucklebury, the footage shows a snow-covered road lined with pine trees that looks like it was lifted from Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage. The Guardian even noticed buses driving on the wrong side of the road in the London scenes and Kate’s rowing team paddling down a river in the High Sierra instead of on the Thames.
Yeah, the movie’s bad. It’s really bad. It tries to wring irony and suspense out of a story that has no irony and suspense because we already know how it ends, since it’s a badly written Lifetime movie. There are ways to make historical events compelling, even something as well-known as the Titanic sinking or the Apollo 13 mission, but effective story arcs have never been in Lifetime’s wheelhouse. They’ve never even been in its scrap pile.
Instead, the film was a giant ratings grab. I remember watching it both before and after the wedding, and in the later showings of the movie Lifetime inserted footage from Westminster Abbey and the ceremony, which was just weird. Oh yes, Lifetime milked William and Kate for all it was worth, and didn’t care how silly it looked.
Still, I can’t help but like it, because for all its missteps, William and Kate has plenty of cuteness, and it’s at least tolerable, unlike, say, Liz and Dick.
More terrible films to be found here, with more to come tomorrow and Sunday. I’ll warn everyone right off the bat, my picks only get worse. 😉 Thanks for reading, all…
William and Kate is available on DVD from Amazon.