Hallmark Countdown to Christmas: The Royal Nanny Recap/Review

I’m back and ready to see Christmas decorations splattered across every banister and landing. However, in this round, we’re gonna get real classy and go to merry old England. So maybe a mince pie on every banister. We’re watching A Royal Nanny!

Synopsis:

Claire is an MI5 agent who goes undercover as the royal nanny. She must over[come] the challenges of her assignment, like resisting the charms of Prince Colin, while keeping the family safe at Christmas.

A nanny spy?! Finally, Hallmark decides to go for a bonkers story. The title of this film does not do this synopsis justice.

RECAP

We kick off with panoramic views of London, including a few shots of Christmas decorations along Regent Street and the ice rink near the Natural History Museum. We’re informed that it’s three weeks to Christmas and see two people exploring a Christmas market. One is clearly English and the other is clearly putting on accent. The two quickly jump into action when our Hallmark Heroine Claire’s earpiece says that a courier is entering the market.

“Our orders are clear. We must eliminate the courier.”

Apparently, this UPS guy is using a festive Christmas box to do some dirty dealings. He hands the goods over to a lady who briskly walks away. Claire loudly shouts “Security Service!” from about 100 feet away, giving the woman time to make a not-so-great escape. The mystery woman drops the box which may or may not have a bomb in it but that means nothing to Claire because she picks it up. One of her colleagues comes by to tell her that she did a great job picking a box up from the floor. She deserves a promotion. But little does the secret agency know that this was all planned and they’ve simply taken the bait set out by the criminals.

“I, too, have an earpiece. But this one is for evil!”

Back at MI7 HQ, they examine the contents of the box. They find a microdot which contains schematics of Kensington Palace and detailed information about the inhabitants.

It’s got unflattering pictures of royal family members and everything.

The team decides that the threat is coming from inside the palace, and they must uncover who it is by going…undercover. There are two job vacancies in Kensington at the moment: protection officer and royal nanny. Because they got a lady on the team, they decide she should just nanny up. Claire protests by doing an exposition dump. Just so her boss knows (i.e. – we, the audience), she grew up in a children’s home and was never adopted, therefore, she can’t be nanny because she never had a real childhood. Not even the audience buys this, so Claire has a new role minding kids. Her partner Wallace takes the protection officer position.

We learn that Wallace has children, so he definitely was better suited to being a nanny. His excuse? His wife watches the kids, he only plays “backup.” Mothers everywhere make Claire’s face.

To help make Claire seem legit, the agency calls up their contact at a prestigious nanny school, Ms. Lansbury. Claire learns everything from the four-year course in one day. We get a nanny montage where Claire is taught how to use an umbrella as a weapon and that “love triumphs in the end.” Not one lesson about feeding kids.

The secret agent is brought to Kensington Palace where she is introduced to the royal kids and their mother Princess Rose. Another member of staff informs Claire that the kids well and truly suck. They’re going to have to treat this new nanny well or they’re going to get blown up.

Uncle Colin a.k.a. Prince Colin arrives. He helps the kids set up a prank, but he second guesses his decision when he sees that Claire is an attractive blonde woman.

While Claire gets settled in her new digs, the criminal lady from earlier is once again very slowly getting away from Britain’s finest agents.

After dropping the kids off at school, Secret Agent Nan goes back to HQ to see how the investigation is going. They’ve captured one of the criminals and, after pointless interrogating, decide that looking for the guy’s lost phone in a city with a population of 9 million is a better way of getting information. Claire and Wallace go back to the Christmas market to ask the vendors if they’ve seen a burner phone somewhere. Miraculously, they find it in time for school pickup.

Later that night, the princess’s midnight snack is interrupted by the security team who proceed to tell her that her and her kids’ lives are in danger.

The first phase of the criminals’ plans has already been completed: trick the royal family into believing that this weird building is Kensington Palace.

Meanwhile, Princess Rose and Colin gossip about the nanny and the kids get a call from their father.

Who apparently was in Dad’s Army.

Back at HQ, the team has received more information that requires Claire to start monitoring Colin. Because the bad guys have some relationship to Colin’s Christmas charity, the prince might be involved in the royal murder/kidnapping plot. OK! Now we’re cookin’!

Claire gets roped into playing charades with Colin and the kids.

“Roar! I’m the British Empire dispatching my imperialist fleets all across the globe!”

The next day, Claire learns that Colin is simply great guy who loves running a charity. He’s been trying to get the richest man in England to donate to the cause. I guess the royal purse strings are pretty tight when it comes to feeding orphans. After telling her story about growing up in a children’s home, the rich guy says that he’ll help the charity meet its Christmas gift quota. Colin gets all hot and bothered for Claire.

Pictured: Young Claire at the children’s home

Claire and Wallace get involved in some family bonding moments. After her flight was grounded (thanks to a phone call from Claire), the princess is able to stay at home and hang out with her kids, giving the nanny the night off to flirt with Colin. They almost kiss, but Colin is whisked away by a plot device, ensuring that his loins are ready for action when we hit the final act.

The prince is made aware of the security threat and how it relates to his charity. MI7 recommends that the family stay low key. However, he and his sister say, “fuck it” and hold huge parties and events.

They risk their family’s lives so that Claire can look hot in a dress.

Colin takes Claire to his train room to finish off what he started during their flirtation session. Smartly, Claire puts the kibosh on his moves.

The princess’s assistant sees this and sends a mysterious football-related message.

It’s the big day of going to the glamourous orphanage and giving gifts. Colin gives some cheap toys to 15 kids.

The rich guy didn’t pull through on his promise.

After doing their one good deed of the year, the royal family departs to their mansion. But not before being threatened by the criminals! Claire thwarts their childnapping attempt with an umbrella. Unfortunately, it’s not enough as they haul Colin away instead.

The kids are second and third in line for the throne. The payday for a guy who’s fourth in line is nowhere near as good.

The children are taken home and Claire spills the beans about her identity to the princess. She also tells her that she doesn’t have a brother anymore. At HQ, the team receives a call from a captured Colin who communicates the demands of the criminals.

By the time they get their dogecoin, the value will be roughly $50.

After an interrogation, the princess’s assistant explains that she was only sending gossip to some rags and NOT planning to murder everyone. She is fired. Just in time for Christmas! And after mouthing off to her boss, Claire is also semi-fired.

While on suspension, Claire meets with Ms. Lansbury who is revealed to be some sort of Big Brother figure. She has spies and cameras everywhere and believes that it’s actually Claire’s boss who is behind the kidnapping. It was rumored that MI7 was set to be defunded and absorbed into another department. Instead of taking on a new role in a different office, Claire’s boss decided that it would be easier to commit treason. If MI7 could kidnap the kids, save the day, and frame Colin, then it could survive the defunding. This is what the people call “4-D chess.”

Despite having no authority to do this, Claire convinces the team to go with her plan and just run into the warehouse where Colin is housed. They save the prince and arrest Claire’s boss.

“I will NEVER work for the local council!”

Colin heads back to see the children, but the former kidnappee’s thunder is stolen when their father arrives unannounced. Colin shrugs and saunters over to hit on Claire. Claire reveals that her Christmas wish was to spend the holidays with the royal family. She receives a phone call from the king who tells her great job and that she’s allowed to hang out with them for Christmas. The kids and their parents leave to go be a family somewhere. Colin and Claire kiss.

Finally, a kiss scene where there isn’t an audience of children!

RECAP

This was more of a mystery than a romantic movie. I would say that the romance element kicked in just over halfway through the run time. The film didn’t really inspire, nor did it offend. Maybe you would feel the latter if you were English. But I can’t get inside the head of the English. That’s not my job; that’s God’s. Claire made a good nanny, and the actress has charm. Colin didn’t have much of an opportunity to show any personality, so I can’t say anything against him. The bad boss was pretty cool for implementing a harebrained scheme to save his department. I genuinely had no clue what the criminal plan was for at least 80% of the film. All in all, it was a movie that didn’t live up to its bonkers potential.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 kidnapped royals

STRAY THOUGHTS

  • Apparently, the synopsis is wrong and the agency in this film is MI7. According to Wikipedia, MI7 was a branch of the British War Office’s Directorate of Military Intelligence with responsibilities for press liaison and propaganda. That’s right. It’s Christmas propaganda.
  • Hallmark films are famously filmed around summertime. They either bought stock footage of festive London or actually got a crew out to get these establishing shots during Christmas.
  • This film was co-produced with BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance. Just found this to be an interesting credit.
  • I thought the kids’ dad was the king because he was so old looking but he’s just some guy in the British airforce.
  • Some of these Hallmark kiss scenes are too much. I am uncomfortable with the amount of tongue.
  • The One True Opinion also had some thoughts on this film and brought some much needed insight into balloon reindeer antlers.