Yesterday I had to day off, so naturally I sat on my couch to watch a little Netflix. To my great joy, I saw a new Netflix original Christmas movie had been released. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed an online ad for The Princess Switch featuring TWO Vanessa Hudgenses and I was instantly excited.
This movie did not disappoint.
Basically, The Princess Switch is the plot of every movie you can imagine where two characters share an uncanny resemblance to each other and decide to switch roles. In this case, they aren’t separated at birth twins, but connected probably through a distant cousin. Vanessa Hudgens 1 is Duchess Margaret of a made up country, a duty bound princess-to-be who’s marrying Prince Edward of another made up country. Margaret isn’t made for the spotlight (which we learn through clunky exposition) and wants to know what it’s like to be a regular girl. She bumps into Vanessa Hudgens 2, Stacey, who’s visiting the made up country for a baking competition. Shenanigans ensue.
In typical fashion, I’m just going to bullet point the rest of my thoughts and they definitely contain spoilers:
- Within the first 20 minutes, John Lennon’s quote ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’ is mentioned THRICE. Clearly, our characters are going to realize some amazing truths while their plans are disrupted.
- Aside from that, the real highlight of the movie is at one point toward the end, Margaret-as-Stacey is at home with Kevin, Stacey’s baking assistant and father to Olivia, a little girl who said at her dance class, they danced The Nutcracker as if that’s a casual dance you can do in 45 minutes. Anyway. They go to watch a Christmas movie and Kevin turns on Netflix. The self-referential nature doesn’t stop there. HE CHOOSES TO WATCH A CHRISTMAS PRINCE BECAUSE IT’S STACEY’S FAVORITE MOVIE! LEGITIMATELY THIS HAPPENS! By the end, Maragaret is crying and Kevin is tearing up because who doesn’t love a happy ending. The most unbelievable thing is probably that it’s Stacey’s favorite movie – she’s been set up as a non-sentimental person who doesn’t seem like she has a lot of time for nonsense. And as much as a I love A Christmas Prince, it’s complete nonsense. Can’t wait for the sequel.
- Everyone falls in love with each other in two days. Kevin and Stacey have been friends since high school, but there’s never been a spark. He’s too go-with-the-flow and she’s too, what he calls, ‘intense.’ As an intense person, this offends me. Once Margaret, somehow a free spirit despite her upbringing, pretends to be Stacey, the sparks begin flying like crazy. Stacey and Prince Edward fall in love because they both love making and keeping plans.
- Both Stacey and Margaret master perfect accents in the matter of an hour maybe? Margaret is from a fake country that fortunately has a British accent, which Stacey immediately masters. I know we’ve all tried to speak with an accent, and maybe we’re okay for a few words, but it’s a really complex thing. You have to learn the different sounds for all the words. Stacey is Chicago based which in real life means she’s got some hard vowels in her pronunciation, but Margaret immediately drops her royal tone of speaking and sounds just like her.
- Stacey wears heals while baking all the time and during the five-hour baking competition. More power to you, but also no.
- At one point when the prince is telling Stacey he wants to be with her, she’s looking at him and tearing up and I really wanted her to start singing any of Gabriella’s sad love songs to Troy, preferably Gotta Go My Own Way.
- When Kevin finds out he didn’t kiss Stacey but actually Margaret, he’s not immediately sure about everything which makes perfect sense. Unlike Edward and Margaret who were basically strangers, Kevin and Stacey have been BFs forever. He thought he was falling in love with his best friend, someone he knows everything about, but it was actually a stranger. That changes things.
- There’s a scene where Stacey-as-Margaret and Edward are riding horses and the green screen is so terrible I’m pretty sure I can see the guy dropping fake snow on them from the rafters.
- Also at one point they go to this really nice toy store and there happens to be a Twister game on the floor so of course they play. Stacey’s in a short skirt and a duchess but that’s no big deal.
- What I legitimately did like is the conflict resolution. The king and queen find out about the doppelgängers and are wondering what to do when a kindly old magic man who’s helping moving the plot along in every scene convinces them it’s fine. They’ve seen Stacey and their son together and they want him to be happy and in love and don’t care if he’s marrying a duchess or a peasant baker. They convince Margaret (now switched back into her real life) to go with Edward to the baking competition. Before they leave, she explains everything to him. So he’s not surprised at the appearance of both of them (sorry Kevin) and knows he’s in love with her. I really appreciate the more rational, non-dramatic ending of things.
This movie is cheesy and ridiculous but I say two thumbs up watch it now.