The Princess Switch: Switched Again was the sequel no-one knew we needed but we were lucky enough to be gifted. It is a surprisingly unproblematic, sickly-sweet, just-cheesy-enough Christmas movie that flies by like candy-floss in the wind.
Vanessa Hudgens returns as Stacy and Margaret, this time also adding a third doppelganger to her oeuvre: Fiona, a bad girl with plans of defrauding everyone and taking over Margaret's title as soon-to-be queen. There's also a relationship to save!
It may not be the kind of deep and meaningful Christmas rom-com that, say, Happiest Season is, but The Princess Switch: Switched Again is far from bad. In fact, in comparison to its Netflix contemporaries (like Operation Christmas Drop or The Kissing Booth), it shines.
The whole Princess Switch series – yes, there's a third film in the saga on the way – is predicated on the unbelievably silly premise: that three random people could be literally identical and everyone around them just says, 'wow, they look really similar'. But if you don't worry too much about it, the silliness slips into the background and the endearing and earnest charm of the characters carries the film.
The movie is also surprisingly unproblematic – at least, as far as heterocentric romance stories go. While, yes, romance is the key (hello, it's a rom-com) neither Stacy nor Margaret are compromising or giving up any bit of themselves to 'get the guy' (or in Stacy's case, keep him happy).
Hudgens' acting may leave some scratching their heads, but one cannot deny that she throws herself into these different roles and clearly has fun doing them. As a result, so does the viewer; and not in an 'it's so bad it's good' way, but in a genuinely enjoyable way.
Fiona and her fellow baddies are comical, but not laughable – their motivations are sound, within the world of The Princess Switch, anyway. But the standout star of the movie is definitely the returning Nick Sagar as Kevin, who is both charming and surprisingly nuanced for a film like this.
And as for whether it measures up to the first? Of course it does! It's The Princess Switch, after all – you know what you're in for.
The pacing of the sequel is perfect: fast enough that you remain entertained, but not so fast that you're left confused, even with the triple switcheroos. Though a shrewd viewer might call the plot predictable, it isn't so predictable it's boring.
In fact, it's not long enough to be boring, clocking in at the perfect one hour and 37 minutes (with credits). So if nothing else, The Princess Switch: Switched Again won't occupy too much of your time — and the time it does fill will be as sweet as one of Stacy's cakes.
The Princess Switch: Switched Again is now available on Netflix.
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