A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding is the sequel to Netflix’s sleeper holiday hit from last year, A Christmas Prince. I mean, there’s no actual way to know whether A Christmas Prince was a “hit,” other than social media penetration, I guess. But it was clearly successful enough for them to rush out a sequel. Much of The Royal Wedding is about eschewing the “old ways” for “new ways,” which makes the (literally) inexplicable success of the first movie even more perplexing: As far as whitebread-template romance movies, it was only marginally different from the kind of stuff you see on Lifetime or straight-to-DVD productions featuring TV actors like Rose McIver as Amber trying to leap into a feature-length story.

But for all its adherence to tradition, The Christmas Prince had just enough self-aware remove to make itself both silly and memorable, a pleasant movie to laugh at and laugh at yourself for enjoying. The Royal Wedding desperately wants to be the same, but it isn’t. Too bogged down in characters it thinks the audience cares about while adding a half-dozen more (including Amber’s obnoxiously “Noo Yawk” father), it drags from the first second — not to mention the laborious political subplots that make you wonder whether the true solution for Aldovia’s economic woes is simply a nice royal-family trip to the guillotine.

Admittedly, that sounds unwarrantedly cruel for a movie marked to a demographic that decidedly does not include me. So I asked my twin sister, Ellen, to opine on The Royal Wedding. Bad romantic comedies are her genre of choice, especially those with Christmas in the mix. She listed for me the 20-plus Netflix-available titles she’s watched over the last two years:

  • Angels in the Snow
  • The Christmas Candle
  • Christmas Crush
  • Christmas in the Smokies
  • A Christmas Prince
  • The Christmas Project
  • Christmas Ranch
  • A Christmas Star
  • Christmas Wedding Planner
  • Christmas with a View
  • Coffee Shop
  • Dear Santa
  • A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale
  • Holiday Baggage
  • Holiday Breakup
  • A Holiday Engagement
  • How Sarah Got Her Wings
  • Merry Kissmass
  • Miss Me This Christmas
  • The Spirit of Christmas
  • You Can’t Fight Christmas

You also can’t fight Ellen’s bad romantic-comedy Christmas film credentials. (Note: These do not include Lifetime Christmas movies.) So, what did she think?

The charm of the first one was that it was perfectly formulaic, without falling prey to genre clichés and tropes. But this one really does. It features highly stereotyped characters (her dad as the loud, unmannered American — which is markedly different from his character in the first film — and her extremely effeminate, sassy wedding designer.

So the country has been in an economic crisis for the past year — the time that has passed since the first movie. And it isn’t until Amber arrives that she asks if they should do some research to figure out what is causing the economic crisis? Doesn’t that make her future husband, the future king, look kind of inept?

The first movie is about Amber dealing with the pressures that come with tradition and her role in the old-school realm of the palace. It resolves. Then this one uses that for drama, too. But then after the whole movie and having to do some “big, grand royal wedding” instead of one her style, she consents as long as she gets to pick her dress and food. But there’s only, like, 50 guests, and her dress is ugly. What was the point?

It fell prey to the issues inherent to most sequels, which is where they want to make sure all the old characters return because everybody is somebody’s favorite. They cram in too much. Why was scheming Simon back from the first one? He could’ve been left out. Why does the young princess have three storylines? Why is there a subplot about her dad pissing off, and subsequently befriending, the palace chef — a sad woman who I assume is a refugee from Eastern Europe? That’s why this one only got two stars from me, relative to other Christmas-related romance movies.

So there you have it: I’m not the only one who thought The Royal Wedding was a royal waste of time and a disappointing sequel.