Mena Massoud captured my heart in 2019’s magical Aladdin live-action remake, perfectly embodying his animated counterpart. In the years since, I have followed his career from Hulu actioner Reprisal to a captivating guest spot in FOX’s 9-1-1: Lone Star. I did not realize just how much I was missing Mena in a lead role until I sat down to watch his newest, Netflix’s The Royal Treatment. Cheesy, simple, and charming, this romantic comedy checked all the right boxes for me. Playing opposite Massoud is actress Laura Marano, who makes sassy salon owner Izzy into a character the audience can instantly root for.
Izzy’s salon has several major issues, primarily of which is the faulty wiring that causes a greedy stand-in for the landlord to practically rob them blind in repairs. The arrival of a prince in town is a big deal, plastered all over the headlines—Izzy makes fun of his curly frock, never imagining that a phone call could change everything… With his wedding approaching, Prince Thomas (Massoud) and his luscious locks are in desperate need of a haircut. Thomas’ butler, Walter (Cameron Rhodes) makes a call to the most exclusive salon in town—Belle, where “all of the biggest names go.” Instead, Siri calls the Bellissime Beauty Salon. Izzy answers, and by this twist of fate, she ends up being offered $500 just to cut the prince’s hair!
There is an easy flirtation between Izzy and Thomas at first, but disrespectful behavior towards one of his maids drives her away before she even finishes. Thomas ends up having to track down Izzy at her salon to coerce her into finishing his cut; this is the first scene the sparks fly between the duo. Izzy’s fellow stylists and close friends seem enamored and starstruck. Thomas is however currently engaged. After his exceptionally good cut from Izzy and her team, Walter suggests Bellissime to do hair and makeup for the royal wedding. And just like that… Izzy and company are whisked away to Lavania, making $50,000 for their troubles!
Izzy and Thomas are polar opposites, which only acts to draw them to one another. Izzy is a street-smart woman who has compassion toward anyone she comes across, including servants. Thomas is about to enter an arranged marriage, and knows little outside the walls of his family’s massive castle in Lavania. Izzy is a woman of the people, whose kind spirit and enthusiasm touches all of those around her. Thomas lets Izzy evolve by teaching her the mantra “be the change you want to see in the world.” The couple receives the surest seal of a lifelong bond: a “dancing with the commoners” Titanic moment.
The whole affair is sold by the charisma of Massoud’s Prince Thomas, juxtaposed against the tenacity of Laura Marano’s Izzy. Thomas is practically a total reversal of the Aladdin character. He is a prince who does not want people to use him for his title, and he longs for someone to just be honest. Massoud’s ear-to-ear smile is contagious. The prince’s secret talents—like the fact that he is randomly fluent in Italian—only add to his allure. I am fully content with this Mena content to tide me over until the inevitable (and highly anticipated) Aladdin 2.
An adorable and satisfying ending, punctuated by minimal eye-rolling conflict, closes out the movie with a stylish flourish. The mother of Thomas’s fiancé is the only real roadblock between Izzy and Thomas. Hilarious and almost sitcom-style in spurts, the tone jumps between playful romance and bubbly comedy quite easily. For a light and sugary-sweet breezy-watching rom-com, The Royal Treatment purely takes the crown.
The Royal Treatment sits down for a life-changing haircut when it debuts exclusively on Netflix on Thursday, January 20th.