Movie Review: The Princess Switch: Switched Again
No, I’ve not seen The Princess Switch. Yes, I feel it perfectly reasonable to review The Princess Switch: Switched Again without doing the research and homework required to review a Netflix Christmas special. It’s not exactly Satantango, is it? I’ve not got the time to watch the first one either, not just because I don’t want to ruin my Christmas, but because I’ve got better things to do. Surely, I had better things to do than watch The Princess Switch: Switched Again but duty calls, and so I marched into Vanessa Hudgens’ latest execution of Christmas with my head held high, my mouth full of coffee, and my heart open to be filled with Christmas cheer.
A dismal affair from the very first seconds, The Princess Switch: Switched Again is exactly what you should expect from a Netflix original. As it turns out it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the first film or not, as the thirty-second recap of glossy, vain nonsense explains to us that actors they couldn’t catch for the second entry into this series have been bumped off, replaced, and written out. Understandable, but I didn’t need a jolly holly Christmas death to fire us into this story of triplets saving the day, a marriage, and a monarchy. Sugar fights, Christmas decorating montages, and the grief of a nation as the passing of power is handed over from one figurehead to the other. You know, all the staples of Christmas.
Hudgens’ third Christmas film in just as many years, producers now treating her like a Blue Peter rabbit, kept in a box and yanked out for a press release and an achingly lengthy shoot schedule every now and then. Harrowing stuff, not just for Hudgens, but for audiences globally that’ll have to sit through this filler nonsense. Artificial Christmas absurdity, at least Hudgens and the cast of nobodies she assembles for this is palatable. No performance that strikes me as good, and with Hudgens on duty as three different characters turns into a concerning case of psychosis, her various alternate personalities resembling something closer to James McAvoy in Split than Nicolas Cage in Adaptation.
It doesn’t surprise me that Mike Rohl is a peddler of Christmas shlock. He has seized the festive cheer of the genre and stuffed it full of cliché and achingly poor, floundering characters. The Princess Switch: Switched Again is a silly movie. I take comfort in the fact that this film doesn’t take itself all too seriously. But it does feel rather static and underwhelming, especially considering how relatively easy it is to inspire joy to the world during festive moments. I can’t believe we’re wasting green screen technology and shot-reverse-shot nonsense on having Vanessa Hudgens dressed in vaguely similar outfits, putting odd accents on when she remembers she’s playing a different character. Manic horrors await, and they’re boring at that.