Lifetime’s ‘William & Kate’ is as dull as the real couple
BY PAIGE WISER TV Critic / firstname.lastname@example.org April 14, 2011 7:18PM
Camilla Luddington and Nico Evers-Swindell star in “William & Kate.” By Lifetime standards, the movie is somewhat tasteful; it’s as dull as the real couple. If the movie went for camp, it could have been a classic.
‘WILLIAM & KATE’ ★★½
8 to 10 p.m. Monday on Lifetime
Updated: July 16, 2011 12:20AM
I was a dorky 11-year-old for the last royal wedding, staying up all night with giggling girlfriends at a sleepover to see Lady Di transformed into a princess. I wasn’t disappointed.
Diana was a 20-year-old naif who arrived in a glass carriage wearing exactly what I would have picked: acres of taffeta with sleeve puffs as big as her head. I forgave Prince Charles for his ears, mainly because his naval uniform was so dashing. It couldn’t have seemed more like a fairy tale if it had been animated.
This time around, I don’t see myself getting up at 4 a.m. for William and Kate. They’ll have to settle for a mango mimosa toast from me — at a more civilized hour.
I just can’t get excited about these two. A nine-year courtship? How . . . sensible. And in all that time, there have been no real scandals to sink our teeth into.
The moral of their story seems to be this: The key to a prince’s heart is first becoming his friend and flatmate. And, if necessary, wearing a see-through dress.
There’s just nothing fairy tale about them, but Lifetime gives them the full treatment anyway in “William & Kate,” a movie that arrives just five months after news of the royal engagement.
“Highly speculative” doesn’t begin to describe it. Without any real details about William and Kate’s relationship, we get dialogue like, “I love the private you. I love the public you. I love the you no one gets to see but me.”
Try as I might, I can’t believe that William has ever said anything like, “I’m not sure we represent anything except a desperate hold on an irrelevant past.”
Among some of the more imaginative scenes:
◆ After William has accidentally made Kate jealous, he grabs an open microphone to publicly sing her an apology.
◆ An etiquette expert, played by Victoria Tennant, gives Kate a royal crash course — just like in “The Princess Diaries.” “Keep your legs firmly together!” she chastises the commoner.
◆ William and Kate ultimately reconcile in a dramatic, wet gesture witnessed by a rowing team.
“It’s not meant to be an in-depth character study of the royal family,” says New Zealander Nico Evers-Swindell, who plays the prince. “Take it for what it is and hopefully enjoy the ride.”
“Grab the girlfriends,” says Camilla Luddington, who plays Kate. “Grab the wine, and let us be your guilty pleasure.”
The actors are being careful to manage expectations, seeing as they’ve already come under scrutiny for taking the parts. Some critics object that the movie is disrespectful; others are just complaining that they look nothing like William and Kate.
It’s true. Luddington looks more like Leighton Meester — or possibly a long-lost Judd sister — than Kate Middleton. And Evers-Swindell is more handsome than William, with significantly more hair.
Thinning it out was a consideration, says Evers-Swindell. “We discussed the hair situation at the beginning, but the powers that be decided that they didn’t want that to be an aspect of the production.”
And while there may be no dirt on Middleton, there’s been Internet gossip about an earlier role Luddington took on an episode of “CSI.” She played a drunk driver wearing a cropped T-shirt that reads “b---- bridesmaid.”
Conduct unbecoming a princess.
“I’m expecting a wedding invitation, but it seems to have gotten lost in the mail,” says Luddington.
One word of praise: Casting Ben Cross (“Chariots of Fire”) as Prince Charles was genius. My favorite part of the movie is when he stops to pose for the paparazzi. “Yes yes yes,” he says under his breath, through clenched teeth. “I’m soooo happy.” If only they had cast a Camilla, too.
By Lifetime standards, “William & Kate” is somewhat tasteful. During a love scene, they discreetly close the door. From years of watching “The Bachelor,” I can tell you that they are suggesting Kate is not a virgin.
If the movie had gone all-out camp, it could have been a classic. If it had gone all-out cheesy, we could mock it more mercilessly. As is, “William & Kate” is as benign as the actual couple.