If Hallmark Channel’s made-for-TV movie is to be believed, then two of the most famous people on the planet — HRH Prince William and his blushing bride Catherine Middleton — are also two of the most boring. Either that, or the plodding, worshipful nature of “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” eradicates any personality, tracing a relationship that begins in classic meet-cute fashion and grinds on, with precious little drama, until the quite-decent proposal. Dan Amboyer and Alice St. Clair mostly look the part, but any resemblance between this valentine and an actual movie is strictly coincidental.
Amboyer’s Prince William is introduced watching a videotaped interview with his late mother Diana (Lesley Harcourt), which provides a loose framing device for a story otherwise nearly devoid of any discernible conflict.
“I just want to blend in,” William announces to an aide as he enrolls in college in 2001, before literally bumping into Kate (St. Clair), who seems as instantly smitten by the prince as every other lass on campus.
The two become friends, although Kate looks like she’s passing a stone every time William hobnobs with another eligible female. Eventually, they become platonic roommates, and she talks him out of leaving school by noting, sensibly, that this is his last chance to enjoy a semblance of normalcy.
William finally notices her that way when she poses for a charitable fashion event in skimpy lingerie, a bit like those old movies (or pornographic ones) where the boss doesn’t recognize his secretary’s allure until she lets down her hair. After that, it’s on to sophomore year, and nearly halfway through the movie before the first furtive snog.
Courtship brings fatherly advice from Prince Charles (Victor Garber) and his wife Camilla (Jean Smart). The only real moments worth a farthing come courtesy of Jane Alexander as Queen Elizabeth, playing Wii with Kate and struggling to pronounce “Kanye West.”
If not for a few unpleasant run-ins with paparazzi, co-writer/director/producer Linda Yellen (who also did “The Royal Romance of Charles & Diana”) would have delivered a bare-bones movie without any meat at all, one where even the act breaks are awkward. In this case, being respectful comes pretty close to donning a straightjacket.
Fortunately, there’s enough interest in the couple to provide a built-in audience for this modestly scaled (shot in Bucharest) exercise. Still, if pressed to identify what the movie’s about beyond the suspense-free build-up to “Will you marry me?” the most appropriate answer would be, without commercials, “It’s about 87 minutes.”