By Abigail Dotterer || Staff Writer
Romantic comedies are cute and cringey. Disney movies are the same way. So are Christmas movies. So why not combine everything people love in each and smoosh it into one film? For a sweet and cringe-worthy Christmas movie to mindlessly watch while drinking a cup of hot chocolate with snow falling outside, Netflix’s The Princess Switch should have a spot on your list.
The flick released in November features ex-Disney star Vanessa Hudgens who portrays baker Stacy De Novo from Chicago. The basic plot is that her sous chef Kevin sends their Christmas cake recipe to an international baking competition in Belgravia, an annual televised event in a made-up small country.
Things start to intensify when Stacy meets the competition’s special guest, Duchess Margaret of Montenaro, and the two look exactly like each other. Since Margaret is getting married on New Years Day without ever have experienced being a “normal” girl, the two switch lives for a few days leading up to the competition. Of course, by the end, Stacy falls in love with the Prince and Margaret for Stacy’s “ordinary” sous chef.
Before watching this movie, I was already set on my unfavorable prediction. It would be over-the-top just like any other Hallmark and now Netflix Christmas special. I thought it would be annoying and able to be made fun of easily. Because of this, I recruited my friend to endure the two hours of watching it with me.
We laughed, not necessarily at the parts that were supposed to be funny, but also at the parts that we just so bad you needed to chuckle. Since Hudgens plays the parts of both Stacy and Margaret, it felt very much like watching the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap. Because of this set up, my friend summed up a conversation between the two Hudgens characters by saying, “she’s having bad dialogue with herself and I don’t know who’s losing.”
Not to mention only the whole look-alike situation, but the film also gave off a Disney-like aura due to the secret, long, and complicated handshakes between a parental figure with a younger child to a not-so-fatal archenemy who attempts to mess up things for the protagonist, but does so in a way that is fixed in two seconds.
There also other issues with the movie, including Belgravia sounding like a country which should be placed in Eastern Europe and not a duplicate of England. Because of this, it feels like we’re watching a movie like The Prince & Me and The Princess Diaries, with the mostly fake British accents and an always seemingly new opportunity for royals to “really connect” with their people. At least Genovia had their own thing with pears and Anne Hathaway.
Netflix doesn’t stop here with their bad holiday romances. In fact, they even go out of their way to promote their cheesy holiday love stories in their other films. After wanting to watch a happy Christmas movie, Stacy is seen crying because of the ending of Netflix’s 2017 holiday film, The Christmas Prince. When this happened, I wasn’t sure if it was going to get any better from that point, so I debated to whether or not to stop watching since it was so over-the-top.
The film also includes undeveloped subplots with the castle servants, which could have been developed if the run time were an extra twenty or thirty minutes.
The film is just too dramatic, overall. The only real drama it has is two seconds of Stacy disguised as Margaret being upset that she “has a wedding to plan” instead of being able to look at the documents from the Prince’s foreign policy meetings. While this situation has room for complaint, it is resolved super quickly. At the end of the film, the Prince proposes to the baker. He’s only known her real personality for a half hour, but least he didn’t have the expectation to be married that day. He asks for her hand in marriage if they are still in love with each other a year forward from that day.
Even though The Princess Switch is like an overly-sweet cupcake that has several “Disney tropes shoved into it but not enough to make it a real Disney movie” according to my friend, it still brings out the warm, fuzzy feelings that are often associated with the 25th of December.
First-year Abigail Dotterer is a Staff Writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.