Even though it has some heart, the Princess Switch: Switched Again doesn’t hold up to the original.
Taking place two years after the events of the first movie, Stacy who is married to the prince of Belgravia and Margaret who is due to be crowned princess of Montenaro, once again switch places as Margret is trying to fix her relationship with Stacy’s best friend Kevin. Unbeknownst to them, Margret’s cousin Fiona (who looks like them) is plotting to steal the crown.
The story is wack, and I knew this going in which makes it wack in the best possible way.
Is it realistic? Of course not, but you’re not watching this movie for realism. That being said, there are a few more cartoonish elements in this movie that were absent in the previous one, making an already unrealistic premise even more ridiculous.
While this performance is not a tour-de-force, Vanessa Hudgens has to play 3 characters in this movie, all substantially different from each other. And for that, I have to give credit where it is due. My favourite of all 3 is Stacy who is the most “normal” given the confines of the movies (I mean how normal can a baker who married a prince after switching places with her husband ex-fiancee who happens to look just like her be anyway.)
Her performance as Margret, while not as realistic as Stacy is still quite grounded and charming. Margret is a very warm character and you as the viewer gravitate towards her. This is also her movie. The first one tells Stacy’s story but this one tells hers.
The most interesting thing about the three characters that Vanessa Hudgens plays is the difference in each character’s mannerisms. You can see it in the way they walk, talk and even smile.
It’s obvious she really tried to give Stacy, Margret and Fiona their own distinct characteristic.
The other performances are… alright. It’s very clear that Vanessa Hudges does the heavy lifting and everyone else kinda just follows along with what the plot demands of their character without doing anything to make said character stand out.
This is probably where this movie is the weakest and it stems from the fact that there is not enough story for a sequel to exist. Am I saying this sequel is bad? No, I am not. However, I am saying that it is not as good as the first one and lacks some of the charm and depth that made the first be such a cute watch.
The best thing I can say about the writing and direction is that the filmmakers knew exactly what kind of movie they wanted to make. And they stuck with it. The Princess Switch: Switched Again does not take itself seriously and it was never supposed to. There is clear lack of stakes or suspense and I’m not going to lie, if those things were present we would have ended up with a film that was trying to hard to be something that it clearly was not. The filmmakers chose a lane with this movie and decided to stay in it. Good call.
I can never fault this movie for how it looks. It’s very obvious that a lot of thought was given to the aesthetics of the movie and it really does show because not only does the movie look festive, but it feels festive too.
As a self-professed film score obsessive, I forgot this movie even had a score. It blends into the background with the exception of the scene where (spoiler alert) Margret is coronated, and even at that, it’s not something that you’re really going to pay attention to.
So I never actually reviewed the first one, I called it a Parent Trap rip-off, all the way down to the different accents and hair cuts, and in spite of all that, there was something there that held my attention. I thought it was cute. This one, slightly less so. It does have some cute moments and it overall entertaining, but it lacks some of the feel-good factor the first one had.
Considering this was actually on my Netlfix watchlist, I’m not mad at it given it’s cute and cliche moments, however, I’m not itching for a third one (please Netlifx fi you see this we don’t need a third Princes Switch movie.)
Denis Harvey’s Variety review says it best
The story is weak in certain places but the Christmas decorations will, “satisfy viewers’ itch for confectionary-looking Christmas fluff”
Originally published at https://www.thecinematicaficionado.com on December 21, 2020.