Lifetime decided to be fashionably late to the party this year by giving the Hallmark Channel a 3-week head start in the Christmas movie bonanza but as we all know, better late than never. And better En Vogue than not. An En Vogue Christmas, Lifetime’s first movie of the season dropped on Saturday night, running right up against Hallmark’s regular offering – A Royal Christmas starring Lacey Chabert and Jane Seymour. I have decided to compare the two films against each other.
To be fair, I actually didn’t see An En Vogue Christmas. It’s possible I’ll get to it eventually but with Thanksgiving and so many other movies coming down the pipe, I can’t promise anything. Don’t worry though, I’m not going to let a little thing like not seeing the film affect my evaluation. Might even work in En Vogue’s favor here. Kind of like that quote from Buddha or Mark Twain or somebody – “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
I did at least watch A Royal Christmas so I will talk about that first. It’s about Emily; a humble, down-to-Earth seamstress from Philadelphia who has been dating this guy named Leo for about a year who is secretly a prince. He has a British accent, which should have been a dead giveaway as to his highnessness but Emily assumes he’s just some regular bloke, studying overseas. They seem pretty in love and so he outs himself at the beginning of the movie. He tells her that he is indeed a prince (of some province we’ve never heard of in the south of France) and he wants to take Emily home to meet his Queen mum for the holidays.
At this point, I don’t know what An En Vogue Christmas is up to. I do certainly remember the group though. During their heyday, there were 4 ladies singing but according to the picture, there are now only 3. Being a Christmas movie, that means the 4th lady must be no longer among the living. RIP 4th lady. But we already know that Emily’s mother is dead too and Leo’s father, the King, has shuffled off this mortal coil as well. Probably at the hands of a scheming Lannister, no doubt. Advantage, A Royal Christmas. No wait a minute, I forgot about the music industry that En Vogue was once a part of. That has been dead for a long time so I am going to give the Christmas Movie Death Advantage to An En Vogue Christmas here. A whole, once-thriving, seemingly indestructible industry must count for more than just one person, right?
But speaking of Lannisters, you might think that Jane Seymour the Queen actually is one because she is a total bitch. Her majesty does not take kindly to her only son bringing home a commoner. Emily is a nice enough girl and everything but she’ll never be royals (royals). At first, it kind of seems like Leo can stand up to this crap but his backbone and common sense kind of fluctuates throughout the film. And of course the Queen has another lady in mind to marry her prince, another royal (royal) who looks and dresses just like her. And surprise, surprise, she is also kind of a bitch. What was a less sarcastic surprise though was that this Duchess is played by Jane Seymour’s real-life daughter.
I can’t imagine there are any kind of love triangles like this going on in An En Vogue Christmas. Not for any reason other than there are 3 surviving members and the film is clearly about the band so no one person’s romantic interests can be the main focus here. Plus they had a big hit with that “Never Gonna Get It” song where they told someone repeatedly that he was never going to get their love and I took those lyrics at face value. I also can’t imagine that any sort of prince was involved but it is technically possible that the singer named Prince was somehow. En Vogue collaborated with Prince on a song for Stevie Wonder’s 2005 album, A Time to Love. That all sounds like a total mess though and not even a hot one. So we’re all knotted up. A Royal Christmas – 1, An En Vogue Christmas – 1.
Here’s the thing though: I don’t need to tell you another thing about A Royal Christmas. You can guess what happens and unlike the song I just mentioned, “Never Gonna Get It”, you ARE gonna get it. If you are anywhere near alive yourself at the moment, nothing in A Royal Christmas will surprise you in the least. The way that Emily stumbles in front of the Queen and other important guests, how the Duchess tries to foil (foil) Emily and Leo’s relationship and of course, Emily cozying up to all the servants because being of lower social standing, they are the only real people in this palace. I guess I will say though, related to that last point, there was technically one thing I didn’t see coming. It was specifically how Emily would get the servants in trouble with their heartless Ice Queen. Let’s just say it involved making a hoagie. In fact, that was literally it. They had never had a hoagie before and Emily was like, “Oh my God, WHAT?!? You HAVE to have a hoagie – NOW!!!” and then they made hoagies and laughed and when the Queen walked in all of this, she fired those servants on the spot. Now when they have to go on job interviews and are asked about the reasons for leaving their last place of employment, they will have to answer with, “Making a hoagie. I was fired for making a hoagie.”
But hoagies notwithstanding, it occurred to me that I had the whole thing backwards. I knew exactly what A Royal Christmas, the movie I actually watched, was going to be but I really had no idea what to expect with An En Vogue Christmas. Ironically, En Vogue hasn’t been en vogue in a long time so who God only knows what they could possibly be up to. If there was one of these movies I didn’t need to see, it was A Royal Christmas. You know what? Screw it – I am going to watch the En Vogue thing right now. I’ll save this review as a draft and be back with you shortly…
There. I have now watched the second film I have been comparing, in hopes that it would give me a better perspective on that very comparison. I’m not sure if it did though. Part of the allure was not knowing. The movie was certainly respectable enough and the surviving members of En Vogue seemed to be hanging in there just fine. Still no mention of this mysterious, missing 4th member but 2 people were dead and the music industry sure as hell didn’t get any alive-er so AEVC keeps the W for that category. But ARC followed more tropes over all and in the end, I enjoyed wondering about AEVC more than actually watching it. So if you want to NOT watch something, I totally recommend that. But if watching something is your bag, I guess I would suggest you make a hoagie and just watch yourself doing that. Although before you do, make sure to read your present employer’s company handbook and thoroughly investigate their policies regarding personal hoagie-making (see also “submarine”, “hero”, “grinder” and of course, “sandwich”). Don’t want to make the same mistake as those royal servants did. Nor do I feel like an actual rating really makes sense in this context so I am going to slightly follow my own advice and just show you a picture of….