If Disney and Hallmark had a baby, then The Princess Switch would probably be it. It stars High School Musical’s Gabriella herself, Vanessa Hudgens which just about guarantees that you’re up for an adorable rom com treat for the next hour or so.
Synopsis: Stacy Denovo (Vanessa Hudgens) is a neurotic Chicago-based baker who receives an invitation to compete in a prestigious pastry competition in the Kingdom of Belgravia along with her long time best friend/sous chef Kevin (Nick Sagar) and her goddaughter Olivia (Alexa Adeosun). There she meets Margaret, the elusive duchess of Montenaro (also Vanessa Hudgens) who is bethrothed to marry Prince Edward (Sam Palladio) of Belgravia. Struck by their uncanny resemblance, Margaret asks Stacy to trade places for two days just so she can experience what its like to be normal. Neither of them expected to find love in that short period of time.
The Princess Switch is Netflix’s second original rom com featuring a prince and a commoner and released around Christmas time. Last year’s A Christmas Prince, their first venture into Hallmark type romances was received so well it spawned a sequel released this year — A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. The Princess Switch follows basically the same formula as its predecessor and employs the typical rom com recipe. What makes it slightly different is that it infuses a sense of whimsy by tapping into the tale of the Prince and the Pauper for perhaps, the hundredth iteration.
While the premise is far from original, The Princess Switch kind of powers through its imperfections by making sure that it cast truly likeable actors to play the lead part that you would forget small inconsistencies in the production and in the story. Vanessa Hudgens had great chemistry with both her leading men and you would find yourself cheering for her, both as Stacy and Margaret throughout the course of the movie, plotholes or not.
I must admit that there were tons of cringe-worthy scenes that were so cliche that I was fighting off goosebumps. But because the actors were good enough to pull it off, I usually found myself smiling as I watched their antics. There were also a lot of inconcistencies about the characters, especially Stacy.
At the beginning, she was characterized as a stickler for organization and lack of spontainety but while she was Margaret, she was the one who encouraged Edward to think out of the box. Perhaps some would say that falling in love would make one act out of character but I just found it weird that the characteristics which the prince found most endearing about her were not what she usually would be.
The story was also a bit lopsided towards Stacy’s arc but there was only really so much that one can do on a two day vacation from reality. The ending was a bit iffy because it was never really explained what happened to the duchess, except that she ended up with Kevin. The Royal Family really made it too easy to accept a commoner too, especially when it was implied that the King would have some objections to it.
All in all, The Princess Switch managed to capture the magic of falling in love around the holidays. It had a lot of issues but not major enough to ruin the good vibes. I must say that I set my expectations very low because The Holiday Calendar turned out to be a dud, but this Netflix original was very simple and very cute. And that’s all there is to it.