Good News! After last week’s disappointing viewing of A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, Netflix redeems its Christmas releases for 2018 with The Princess Switch. Vanessa Hudgens and Vanessa Hudgens star in a sort-of Christmassy adaptation of Prince and the Pauper where we once again travel to a made-up country with a royal family, where hijinks and romance ensues.
The Princess Switch focusses on Stacy, a baker from Chicago whos best friend, Kevin enters her in an international baking competition in Belgravia. There she meets the princess to be, Margaret Delacourt, Dutchess of Montenaro (yet another made-up country) who looks identical to her. Margaret has always wanted to be a normal person, growing up a dutchess usually prevents those kinds of experiences, and she proposes the two switch for a few days so she can experience the real Belgravia. Despite having a big international baking competition in two days time, Stacy agrees and in a short ‘Parent Trap’ type montage the two teach each other how to act like the other. Over the course of the two days, the characters fall in love with their opposites’ male counterpart (I say counterpart because one is a fiancee and the other is a best friend), and a few characters start to cotton on to the switch, the male counterparts remain in the dark (arguably Kevin, who would know Stacy more than anyone, was one of the only ones to be completely oblivious).
The film is reasonably predictable, you can guess how the movie ends, but there are no stakes. There was nothing set up to say what can go wrong if the two are found out. The only real threat is a rival baker in the competition and an aid to the king and queen that tries to find out what’s ‘different’ about the dutchess, the latter isn’t much of a threat and is responsible for a terribly handled slapstick comedy scene. There’s also this random old guy that keeps popping up, he’s credited in the film (no joke) as Kindly Man, and there is this subtle inference that he’s pulling all the strings and somehow making this happen, that bothers me and his appearances in scenes add nothing to the narrative. Take him out and almost nothing changes.
Speaking of things that I didn’t like… the Netflix ad inside the film, for a few reasons. 1. It’s an ad for Netflix (I’m already watching Netflix), 2. It’s an ad for A Christmas Prince on Netflix (I’m watching a Christmas movie on Netflix, do you think I haven’t seen A Christmas Prince? 3. It ruins the chance of Netflix doing cross-overs (because I was quietly hoping for a Netflix Christmas Cinematic Universe where all these royal families would meet).
Without going into much more detail (because there really isn’t much detail in the film), The Princess Switch is fine, it’s good to just put on in the background while you’re setting up a Christmas tree, doing some cooking or baking or wrapping presents. But it’s a better Netflix Christmas film than A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding.
The Princess Switch – Below Average