Christmastime is officially upon us – and with it comes an array of new holiday-themed movies for us all to enjoy. “The Princess Switch” is Netflix’s most recent attempt at a Hallmark-esque holiday movie that seemingly has it all: Love, royalty, a bake-off and an identity swap. It’s a cute, charming, feel-good movie, but something falls short.
The film, directed by Mike Rohl, follows Stacy De Novo, a baker from Chicago, and Margaret Delacourt, a duchess from the fictional country Montenaro, who decide to trade places for a weekend. Stacy is visiting Belgravia (another fictional country) for a baking competition with her co-worker and best friend Kevin, a single dad, when she runs into her look-alike Margaret, who is recently engaged to Prince Edward and wants to experience a “normal” life before she becomes a princess. They switch places, fall in love with each other’s men and in the end decide to permanently trade lives. That’s it, there’s no real struggles or hardships throughout the movie. Even when Stacy and Margaret are exposed, everyone seems to be fine with it.
Both Stacy and Margaret were played by actress Vanessa Hudgens.
“It was very confusing in the beginning, I must say,” Hudgens explained to Bustle. “It’s two characters, but then it’s also the other two characters on top of that, when they switch, and you’ve got a British girl pretending to be American, and an American girl pretending to be British.”
The plot is light-hearted and fun, but it’s definitely missing something deeper. I kept waiting for something dramatic to happen, but there was absolutely no drama or surprises. It was far too predictable, and anything that seemed like it led to some kind of drama or plot twist just kind of fell short. For example, a fellow contestant in the baking competition seemed very hostile toward Stacy and Kevin and even tried to sabotage them, but nothing ever seemed to come of it. There was never even a confrontation. There was also the mysterious old man who seemed to act as a fairy godmother for Stacy and Kevin – who was he? The film never explained this, and there was no closure with his character.
The movie is a little less than original, combining the plots of many classics: the identity-swap of “The Parent Trap,” the fictional European country and a commoner-turned-princess character from “The Princess Diaries” (Belgravia and Genovia sound awfully similar), the American pretending to be a European royal from “Monte Carlo” and the baking competition is very reminiscent of “The Great British Bake-off.”
Despite the movie’s flaws, it still leaves viewers with that warm and fuzzy holiday feeling. The scenes in Belgravia are snowy, cozy and picturesque, the royal castle is beautiful, there’s a wholesome scene with children receiving gifts; all of which make the movie feel somewhat like a Christmas fairytale. If you’re willing to overlook the plot holes, unoriginality and cheesiness, it can be a light-hearted watch.
If you aren’t looking for anything of much substance and enjoy romantic comedies, “The Princess Switch” is worth a watch.
Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.