Following its initial release on November 16, the Netflix holiday original The Princess Switch has garnered fairly consistent reviews: it's silly, heart–warming, holiday fun that is extremely predictable. While I have nothing against a predictable story line and actually prefer happy endings, this movie felt like 100 minutes of very little excitement.
The story line follows a Chicago baker, Stacy DeNovo, (Vanessa Hudgens) who travels with her sous chef and his daughter to the fictional country of Belgravia, where the sun is extremely bright and yet there is always snow.
The bakers are there to compete in a prestigious pastry competition and—in proper holiday movie fashion—plans are devised and hijinks ensue. Stacy runs into Lady Margaret Delacourt (also Vanessa Hudgens), Duchess of Montenaro and soon–to–be bride of Belgravian Prince Edward.
Because she wants to experience a “normal life,” Margaret decides to switch places with Stacy for two days. Snow ball fights, extravagant balls, and clichés like “anyone can be a princess” develop, concluding with Stacy and Edward falling in love and Margaret and Kevin doing the same. Oh, and Stacy and Kevin win the baking competition, but that’s a side plot that pales against the love triangle (or square?)
The movie was cute and not necessarily painful to watch, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite. First of all, the movie is categorized as a “Romantic Comedy.” I did not laugh once.
I promise you it doesn’t take much to make me laugh. Furthermore, I was disappointed by the lack of tear–jerkers. I’m not saying that all good movies make you cry, but The Holiday became a Christmas staple for me after Arthur receives a standing ovation and walks on stage unassisted (cue my sobbing). I just prefer movies that invoke an emotional response, and instead I stared at a screen for almost two hours with a straight face, confused by Hudgens’s fake British accent.
But even if you don’t agree with my emotional response, there’s no arguing there are some major gaps in the plot. For example, why don’t Stacy or Margaret act more surprised when they meet? I feel like most people would scream if they met someone who could be their identical twin. Even worse, the two are not twins but distant cousins. Despite this being genetically impossible, wouldn’t the “nature” aspect in the “nature versus nurture” debate create a greater disparity in their appearance than a haircut?
Furthermore, in an international competition, why does no one inspect the tools before the competition starts, and thus stopping Stacy from competing with a sabotaged Kitchen–Aid? Or more importantly, how did she make a six–layered cake without a mixer and not even realize the mixer’s cord was cut until she started the berries!?
Finally, Stacy gets engaged to Edward after knowing him for three days. While I understand the movie is about being “spontaneous,” I’m not sure an engagement in three days is the solution.
While the story ended happily and there was enough snow and Christmas trees for this film to be considered a holiday flick, I am content with never watching this movie again. It was cute but kind of boring, with an almost absent soundtrack and an annoying number of gasps and sighs in the dialogue. The Princess Switch is fine, but with less than a month before Christmas I’d prefer to spend my time watching the classics I already know and love.