The Princess Switch
Commoner Stacy and Duchess Margaret are identical in looks but different in status. Secretly switching places could give them a few days in each other’s shoes. But can new accents, and a little Christmas magic, also give them a chance at love?
Opens w/ City Scene
Contest as Plot Device
Cute, Precocious Child
They Play Piano!
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
As #3 on our list of hotly anticipated 2018 premieres, “The Princess Switch” was the one we knew least about. Netflix mentioned it over the summer, but the little information we could find made it a risky choice for our list.
Would it be “A Parent Trap” rip-off? Would it take place in the same kingdom as last year’s viral “A Christmas Prince”? And how much Christmas would it actually include? We had many questions…and throughout the fall, we wondered if it was a mistake to get excited for something that could be a flop.
Twenty minutes into the movie, we realized we shouldn’t have worried. It’s a delight to watch.
Non-spontaneous Chicago baker Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens, so darn likeable on screen) and her sous chef/best friend travel to Belgravia for an international baking Contest as Plot Device. She runs into her doppelganger, the mysterious Duchess Margaret (also Vanessa Hudgens), who wants a few days of freedom before marrying the practical-stranger Prince Edward. Stacy agrees, but only so her best friend’s Cute, Precocious Daughter can get a ballet scholarship. Cue a haircut and a fashion/accent/family history educational montage, and our ladies switch places.
We get the most screen time with Stacy and Prince Edward. Their Charity Work and They Plan Piano! scenes give their affection authenticity. And Stacy’s fumbling explanations about her kingdom (“You know what we say: A warm horse is a happy horse!”) and exaggerated accent are genuinely enjoyable.
The surprise element throughout is the …Santa? character. Never really explained, the meddling man randomly appears in different disguises to tell characters to “Stop planning and start living” or “Don’t you seem in love…” His character makes little sense, but you’ll squeal with delight when he pops up out of nowhere.
The movie isn’t perfect, to Rob’s chagrin. The connection between Duchess Margaret and sous chef Kevin seems shallow, and the evil plots of a rival baker and the Prince’s chauffeur are underdeveloped and somewhat unnecessary. And while there are Christmas lights and references to the holiday throughout, the characters don’t spend enough time sharing why the season is so important.
Small flaws aside, “A Princess Switch” is another example of how Netflix is rocking the Christmas movie genre. Too bad they didn’t leave room for an obvious sequel.
Rob's Final Take: Merry
It doesn’t pack the emotional punch that I look for in a Very Merry movie, but this film is full of unexpected Christmas fun. You won’t be disappointed.
Jess's Final Take: Very Merry
This movie made me laugh so much, and Vanessa Hudgens is a perfect Christmas movie leading lady. Christmas = Joy, and this movie brought me mounds of joy.
Watch It On: Netflix
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio & Nick Sagar