Review by Markéta Ní Eithir
With the days getting shorter and the Christmas season well in sight, Netflix has started releasing its annual festive romantic comedies. While these films, such as the Christmas Prince (Alex Zamm and John Schultz, 2017-2019) trilogy or last year’s The Knight Before Christmas (Monika Mitchell, 2019), may not go down as cherished classics to be revisited every year, they do provide audiences with some light, predictable Christmas cheer, which in 2020 is more needed than ever. This year, Vanessa Hudgens reprises her roles as doppelgängers Stacy and Duchess Margaret from 2018’s The Princess Switch (Mike Rohl) in The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (Mike Rohl). Having fallen in love (Stacy with Prince Edward of Belgravia (Sam Palladio) and Margaret with handsome American baker Kevin (Nick Sagar)), and become close friends in the last film, the sequel catches up with our protagonists two years later.
The film primarily focuses on Margaret, who, through a twist of fate, is about to become Queen of Montenarro. This has led, however, to her splitting up with Kevin. Stacy, who is now Princess of Belgravia and seems to have very little to do, is determined to rectify this. The two women decide to switch (again!) in order for Margaret and Kevin to have time to properly talk and get their own happy ending. Complications arise, however, with the arrival of Margaret’s selfish, quintessentially millennial cousin Fiona, who just happens to bear a striking resemblance to the main characters (and is also played by Hudgens). Needless to say, things do not go as planned.
With two identity switches, relationship struggles, a kidnapping, and a coronation, the film perhaps tries to do too much in its 96 minute run-time, resulting in several plot lines – and Stacy’s character arc in particular – being rushed and under-developed. It also doesn’t give enough time to Christmas itself as, with the exception of a fun decorating montage near the beginning of the film, it could be set at any time of the year. In comparison to some of Netflix’s other Christmas releases, it has a decent supporting cast that the audience can root for, resulting in the film not dragging between major events. The film also doesn’t go out of its way to put down certain female characters to elevate others, a trend that still is all too prominent in contemporary romantic comedies.
While it may not be a classic for the ages, The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again is a fun, light Christmas flick that is very enjoyable as long as it’s not taken too seriously.