A Predictable Present: “The Princess Switch” movie review



A week out from Thanksgiving, Netflix has already released the second addition to this year’s line of original holiday movies. Following mixed reviews of last year’s “A Christmas Prince” and “Christmas Inheritance,” audience’s expectations are again let down by recently released “The Princess Switch,” which stars actress Vanessa Hudgens of the hit Disney franchise “High School Musical.”

About now, I would warn for spoilers, but the movie title itself makes my job easy. I can’t surprise you because there are no surprises. If you’ve seen “The Parent Trap,” “Princess Diaries,” the aforementioned “A Christmas Prince” and “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper,” go ahead and combine their plotlines. The end result will be nothing but “The Princess Switch.” It feels like the writers got a little too lazy. In our beloved (insert snooty fake country), Princess (insert average, yet promising name) finds loveee. Cue the overused piano ballad.

The characterization was the most horrifyingly intriguing part. The mean girl, overly wise child and sidekick best friend were all present. As for the protagonist herself, they might as well have directly said that she was smart and prudent instead of having her alphabetize a checklist. Nuance was nowhere to be found; why bother with the indirect characterization at this point? Just give me some scrolling descriptions, Netflix.

All that being said, I don’t know that this movie was actually meant to be good. “The Princess Switch” is annoying, predictable and family friendly in the way we often want our Christmas movies to be. The saccharine tone, the over-the-top acting, and the predictable dialogue meet many genre expectations. The ill-developed, superficial conflicts can be ignored for the idyllic cinematography, the perfect backdrop for any gathering or party. So while I really can’t bring myself to recommend this film, I can tell you that it was warm and fuzzy and great-with-cookies.