Monday, December 13, 2021

Adam and Alison Watch Christmas Movies: PRINCESS SWITCH 3: ROMANCING THE STAR

 by Adam Thas and Alison Thas

Week 1, 2021: Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star

Alison: It is no secret that I was an unapologetic fan of the first Princess Switch movie and even, to an extent, the second movie when we reviewed both of them last year. The first Princess Switch is a sweet movie with a simple plot that holds true to all the things that I have grown to love in holiday movies. There is snow, beautiful backdrops, and princes with cheesy love stories that have you walking away with a smile on your face. That “good time” feeling decreased significantly with the second movie and now by the third it wasn’t present at all. The biggest difference between each subsequent movie and my personal experience with them is the decrease in relatability to the main character. If you are not aware, each of the Princess Switch movies follows a girl from Chicago who enjoys baking named Stacy Wyndham and Margaret Delacourt, the heir to the throne of Montenaro (both played by Vanessa Hudgens). After a chance meeting, Stacy and Margaret realize they look identical and decide to switch lives for a few days, where they each end up falling in love with someone in their altered lives. A “girl from Chicago who enjoys baking” is someone who I relate to and can become invested in the character. In the second movie, The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again, they introduce Lady Fiona Pembrook (also played by Hudgens) as the villain of the story who kidnaps Stacy and tries to take the throne from Margaret.

By the third movie, Margaret, Stacy, the princes, and all the royalty that goes along with it are gone and it is all about Lady Fiona. She’s not a very likable character and is accompanied by two foolish sidekicks. For me (and many) to really enjoy a movie, it helps if I can in some way identify with the character. I don’t identify with Fiona or the people she hangs around with. This has almost nothing I love in a holiday movie and found myself just watching it because it was the next in the series.
Adam: I got sucked into these movies simply because Alison loved the first one so much. I didn’t have the same love for it that she had, so now that we are in the third of these things I think it’s time to hang-up the Princess Switch movies. Let me try to go spoiler free here (although I can’t imagine you liking this movie). The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star brings back all the characters from the past movies and adds two new characters in Peter Maxwell (Remi Hii) as the new love interest and billionaire Hunter Cunard (Will Kemp) as the villain. Within the first 10 minutes, the entire plot unfolds: the “Star of Peace” is stolen while on loan from the Vatican and in order to find it Princess Stacy and Lady Margaret enlist the help of Fiona, the villain from Princess Switch 2: Switch Again. Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star is not a holiday movie but a heist movie with snow, where Fiona and her friends try to recover the stolen Star of Peace.

I know there may be at least one or two of you whose ears perked up at the phrase “heist movie,” but this is a heist movie in the very loosest sense of the word. The Princess Switch 3 spends most of its run time ripping off better heist movies, complete with disguises, pressure sensitive plates, and a sexy laser dance. Coupled with the heist, the movie makes every effort to be a redemption movie for Fiona. Throughout the runtime we come to find that Fiona’s evil ways are a result of her mother not being around enough and that Peter Maxwell, whom she partners with to recover the Star of Peace, was the only person who was nice to her in school. It’s tolerable mostly because of its inoffensiveness and the likability of Hudgens, who is doing a bulk of the lifting, playing three of the main characters. What works in the third movie is the attempt. There is an interesting idea in a girl who uses people, reforms herself to help others, all while recovering from childhood trauma. The issue is the idea is handcuffed by being a feel-good family movie that is built on a flimsy concept that three women happen to look alike. Given what they had to work with, it turned out fine. If the third movie does even partially well, my guess is we will see a fourth that revolves in some way around a baby; otherwise, this franchise and idea has been exhausted to its furthest extent. I’m glad Hudgens has found a niche in these movies, but it’s time to put this trilogy to bed.
Adam’s List:
1) Holidate (2020, Netflix)
2) Holiday Calendar (2018, Netflix)
3) Snowed Inn (2017, Hallmark)
4) The Princess Switch (2018, Netflix)
5) The Knight Before Christmas (2019, Netflix)
6) Christmas Under Wraps (2014, Hallmark)
7) The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (2020, Netflix)
8) The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021, Netflix)
9) Holiday in the Wild (2019, Netflix)
10) Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018, Hallmark)

Alison’s List:
1) The Princess Switch (2018, Netflix)
2) Holiday Calendar (2018, Netflix)
3) Holidate (2020, Netflix)
4) The Knight Before Christmas (2019, Netflix)
5) Christmas Under Wraps (2014, Hallmark)
6) Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe (2018, Hallmark)
7) The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again (2020, Netflix)
8) Snowed Inn (2017, Hallmark)
9) The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021, Netflix)
10) Holiday in the Wild (2019, Netflix)

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