It would almost be offensive to examine the movie any closer than a cursory “it was fine” pronouncement, because movies like these aren’t meant to be judged but enjoyed.
Princesses are very big come Christmas time, and The Princess Switch, the second in Netflix’s growing Christmas Pincess extended universe is another perfectly servicable entry into the canon. Here, Vanessa Hudgens plays both Stacy De Novo, an expert baker from Chicago, and Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro, who is betrothed to the future King of Belgravia. The two meet when Stacy is invited to compete in Belgravia’s prestigious pastry competition. As the title suggests they switch places, and with a little bit of Christmas magic, they both fall in love.
It would almost be offensive to examine the movie any closer than a cursory “it was fine” pronouncement, because movies like these aren’t meant to be judged but enjoyed. The premise is ridiculous, and the main characters declare themselves in love with their respective male leads within the space of two days, but who cares about small things like logistics when there is Christmas spirit in the air? There’s a kind of deranged lunacy inherent in these films that is part of the fun. Of course Stacy successfully convinces the Prince to change decades of Belgravian tradition with a few platitudes about gestures and giving. Of course Margaret convinces Stacy’s close friend, business partner and sous chef that years of platonic friendship should turn romantic without ever raising his suspicious about her identity. In these romcoms, logic gives way to Christmas miracles and true love.
There are genuinely fun parts, like Vanessa’s terrible English-approximate accent that fluctuates wildly from scene to scene. Kevin’s preteen daughter Olivia is also delightful. She immediately figures out that they two have switched places and does a little matchmaking of her own when everything comes to light. The “kindly old man” who keeps showing up in ever more unlikely scenarios to encourage the characters towards each other is also highly amusing, as the Netflix-brand cross-promotional content, when Kevin reveals that A Christmas Prince is Stacy’s favourite movie.
The movie is fun and enjoyable, and perfectly suited to its purpose. This is easy-listening, but for romantic comedies, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that. I can’t wait for the sequel.