San Diego Union-Tribune editors and writers share what they’re currently obsessing over.
What I’m obsessed with: The cheesy “Princess Switch” holiday trilogy of movies currently streaming on Netflix. If a sugary candy cane in movie form seems appealing, might I suggest these movies starring one-time Vista resident Vanessa Hudgens?
Why? I like “bad” movies, especially if they’re holiday movies — holiday movies don’t have to follow the same standards as regular movies. We’re not watching for the plot or the script or the stellar performances. We’re watching because there’s something comforting about the tropes, usually involving some kind of unlikely romance, set during Christmas, when twinkling lights and jingling bells set the stage. We’re watching for the lesson about the spirit of Christmas and the inevitable happy ending.
The “Princess Switch” movies check all these boxes. The first “Princess Switch” premiered in 2018. The second, “The Princess Switch: Switched Again,” followed in 2020 and the third, “The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star,” was released last month.
Full disclosure: These movies won’t be winning any Oscars come awards season. The plot of all three films is highly unbelievable. The dialogue is uneven and unnatural. Some of the performances are stilted. And a lot of the accents are, well, bad.
But again, that’s not what we’re watching for. Suspend your disbelief and these movies are fun, frothy and easy-to-digest. It’s “The Princess Diaries” mixed with “The Parent Trap” with a little “The Great British Baking Show”cq thrown in — all wrapped up in a shiny Christmas bow.
What is happening here? You might find yourself asking that question a lot during these movies. The plot of the films finds our heroine, Stacy De Novo (Hudgens), a baker from Chicago, embarking on an extremely unlikely path: in the first film, at the urging of her friends, she enters a prestigious holiday baking competition in the Kingdom of Belgravia. While there, she discovers that she bears an uncanny resemblance to Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro (also Hudgens), who is set to wed the Prince of Belgravia.
Hudgens dons a fake British accent when she assumes the role of Lady Margaret. Why a British accent? Unclear. Montenaro is a fictional country, but apparently, they speak in British accents there. If this sort of thing bothers you, maybe these movies aren’t for you.
But what are the movies about? For reasons that don’t really matter, in all three movies, the plot involves switching/mistaken identities.
In the first, Stacy and Lady Margaret switch places and fall in love with the “wrong” character. Margaret falls in love with Stacy’s best friend, Kevin. Stacy falls in love with the prince, who was previously engaged to Margaret. But don’t worry, everyone’s perfectly fine with it because Stacy ends up marrying the prince and becoming the Princess of Belgravia.
In the second, Margaret and Stacy switch again — but this time, Margaret has become Queen of Montenaro. Margaret’s cousin Fiona (Hudgens again!) tries to switch identities in order to be crowned queen by kidnapping Margaret, who is actually Stacy.
And in the third, you guessed it, more identity switches: this time, it’s Margaret and Fiona, and then Stacy and Fiona (guess they forgave Fiona for the whole kidnapping thing). But this time, there’s also an international jewelry heist!
Remember when I said the plots were extremely unbelievable? There are so many cases of switched/mistaken identities and incredulous plot twists, it gets confusing trying to keep everything straight. But it doesn’t matter, because in the end, just like in all good holiday movies, all is always forgiven and everyone lives happily ever after.
The “Princess Switch” franchise is now streaming on Netflix.