The Princess Switch: Switched Again – review (Netflix)

Brief synopsis: A princess, days away from her Christmas Day coronation is given a chance to rekindle her romance with a love she thought lost when a fellow princess, who is her doppelgänger, switches places with her to give her a chance to get the romance back on track. A greedy cousin to the soon-to-be-queen princess, who also bears the same uncanny resembles to the princesses, throws a spanner in the works when she kidnaps one of the princesses. 

Is it any good?: The Princess Switch: Switched Again, follow up to the 2018 film, The Princess Switch, is harmless nonsense with Vanessa Hudgens going full Eddie Murphy this time, taking on three roles instead of just the two. 

There are no surprises in the film and the story is not going to win any awards. It is just festive fluff with Hudgens utilising her Disney kudos to the full. 

Spoiler territory: it is two years since Stacy (Hudgens), a baker from Chicago, switched places with Lady Margaret (also Hudgens), a duchess from Belgravia and married a prince, Prince Edward (Sam Palladio), when she visited Belgravia for a baking contest and the two swapped places after the duchess noted their remarkable resemblance. 

The duchess fell in love with Stacy’s best friend, Kevin (Nick Sagar). Unfortunately, their relationship did not last and Kevin went back to Chicago. In Belgravia, Stacy is keeping busy with her royal duties and presenting an award at a cake competition. Edward comes to meet her at the event. 

Later, as Edward tries to broach the subject of them spending more time together, a distracted Stacy tells him that she is worried about Margaret. 

She is in line for the throne after the king died and Prince Howard, who was next in line, abdicated. She is next in line and the coronation is due to take place on Christmas Day. 

As Edward makes suggestions to try and get more amorous, Stacy speculates that she does not believe that Margaret is happy. She has not been happy ever since she split from Kevin. 

Edward tells her that people split all the time. She keeps on speaking along the same lines; Olivia (Mia Lloyd), Kevin’s daughter, has been on the phone to her telling her how miserable he is since he split with Margaret. 

Stacy goes to Chicago to see Kevin and Olivia and to persuade Kevin to come to the coronation in Montenaro. Kevin is looking dishevelled and slovenly. 

He tells Stacy that he has moved on. He believes Margaret has moved on also. Stacy tells him they need to support Margaret at the upcoming coronation. He agrees to attend. 

Stacy meets up with Edward and they go to Montenaro. Margaret is very happy to see them. She is also happy about the surprise visit of Olivia and Kevin. Inside the royal palace, everything is covered over. 

Margaret is not comfortable getting ready for Christmas festivities when the country is in mourning for the king. Edward points out that the country wants to celebrate a new era, with a new ruler; her. They decorate the house. 

Margaret and Kevin have obviously missed one another. Olivia suggests they have some hot chocolate, which they all think is a good idea. She then suggests Kevin and Margaret make it. 

The two go to the kitchen and as they look for ingredients to make the hot chocolate, become playful. Antonio (Lachlan Nieboer), the chief of staff, interrupts their frivolity. 

Taking her away, he remarks on how there is much to review before the coronation. There is a concert on Christmas Eve and a reception. Antonio makes a great effort to ingratiate himself with Margaret. Stacy interrupts his brown-nosing. 

Stacy comes to see Margaret the next morning. She wants to know what her relationship is with Antonio. She tells her that he has been very helpful with the royal protocols, as he had been the king’s consort. Margaret asks how Kevin feels about her. Stacy tells her to ask him. 

At the evening ball, Stacy encourages Kevin to ask Margaret to dance. As Antonio tries to win her over with florid words, Kevin comes and takes her onto the dance floor. 

Whilst on the floor, Kevin invites her out for a drive the next day. Margaret accepts. As the ball continues, Margaret’s cousin, Fiona (Hudgens again), makes an entrance. She is not dressed for a ball. 

She is flanked by two minions; Mindy (Florence Hall) and Reggie (Ricky Norwood), who quickly disappear into the throng of ball’s attendees. 

Stacy comes over with Edward. Fiona immediately comments on their likeness, remembering that they swapped roles a while back. 

Fiona leaves them. Margaret tells them that Fiona likes to party and has already burnt through her late uncle’s fortune. 

Antonio comes to get Margaret. The Prime Minister is there to see her. She tells Kevin she will see him tomorrow at two o’clock. She leaves. At the ball, Mindy and Reggie are pickpocketing guest and stealing items.

The next day at the Pembroke Estate, Fiona’s home, Mindy and Reggie reveal their stolen stash. Fiona is not impressed. Mindy makes an off-hand comment, saying their lives would be better if she was to become queen. Fiona dismisses both of them. She then looks at the invite for the coronation. 

At the royal palace, Margaret meets Kevin to go out for their intended drive. Before they can leave, Antonio comes and tells her that he needs to speak with her urgently. Getting her alone, Antonio gives Margaret a piece of jewellery and makes a play for her. He tells her they would make a fantastic couple. 

Margaret talks to Stacy about it. Stacy, who is team Kevin, tells her she is sure she and Kevin should be together. Meanwhile, Antonio tells Kevin that he is not being fair to Margaret and is possibly holding her back from becoming the monarch she could be. Olivia overhears the conversation. She tells Stacy. 

They go to Margaret and tell her she needs to find out where she and Kevin are, relationship-wise. Stacy suggests they swap again, to give her time to be with Kevin. Mrs Donatelli (Suanne Braun), Margaret’s lady-in-waiting, will help. Margaret has reservations but agrees. 

At Pembroke Estate, Fiona has come up with a plan. She plans to become queen long enough to transfer money to an off-shore account. She plans to kidnap Margaret before the coronation and take her place. Fiona goes to the palace to find out Margaret’s movements. She finds out that Margaret is going to a charity concert. 

The next day, as Olivia distracts Edward, Margaret and Stacy swap roles. Fiona also gets a makeover, her blonde hair made black like the princesses.

Margaret goes to see Kevin. Edward, unaware of the role swap, speaks to Stacy mistakenly thinking she is Margaret. He tells her that he thinks that Stacy might be becoming tired of him as she always seems to be too busy to make time for them. He tells her that Stacy is everything to him. She tells him everything will be fine. 

Olivia gets Edward to take her Christmas shopping. Stacy fulfils Margaret’s royal duties as Margaret goes to meet up with Kevin. Olivia continues to run interference with Edward. 

Stacy goes to the carol concert as Margaret. Fiona, Mindy and Reggie turn up at the concert. 

Kevin and Margret have a proper conversation about their relationship and their feelings for one another. Kevin tells her he does not want to hold her back. 

She tells him that he is the one she loves. Back at the concert, Reggie spills a drink on Stacy as Mindy distracts Mrs Donatelli. Mindy immediately tells Stacy, who she thinks is Margaret, that she can help her in the bathroom. They go to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, Fiona chloroforms Stacy and they swap clothing. Mindy and Reggie take Stacy to Pembroke Estate. Fiona returns to the concert and immediately calls for the car. 

She wants to return to the palace. She leaves Mrs Donatelli behind. Back at Pembroke Estate, Mindy and Reggie do not believe Stacy when she tells them they took the wrong person.

At the palace, Margaret comes to swap back with Stacy. Fiona as if Margaret is Stacy and kicks her out of the room. She calls her minions. They grabbed the wrong person. They have got Stacy. Mindy tells Fiona she can move up the coronation. 

Margaret goes to speak to Edward. She tells him that his wife has been kidnapped. Mrs Donatelli returns and tells them that she has been fired and that the coronation has been moved to that night. Margaret tells her she is not fired.

Kevin goes to see Margaret, not realising it is Fiona. She tells him that they cannot be together. She says they must end their relationship. Kevin tells her if he leaves he is not coming back. Kevin leaves. 

Back at Pembroke Estate, Stacy is looking for a way out. Kevin and Olivia leave the palace and head to the airport. Mrs Donatelli tells them what happened at the concert. 

Margaret works out that they must have switched there and that she is probably being held at the Pembroke estate. Antonio works out that Fiona is impersonating Margaret and makes a deal with her in the hope they can both become very rich. 

Reggie takes a sandwich for Stacy. She distracts him and escapes the basement room. Edward, Margaret, Mrs Donatelli and Frank (Mark Fleischmann), the driver, arrive at Pembroke Estate and rescue her.

Mrs Donatelli reminds them that they need to stop the coronation. At the church, Fiona and Antonio argue the veracity of having a coronation a day before its date with the priest. 

Kevin and Olivia are being driven in circles by the taxi driver. The coronation begins. Margaret enters the church and demands that proceedings be halted. 

She looks to Antonio to verify that she is the real Margaret. Antonio tells the guards to arrest her. Stacy steps forward and backs Margaret. Margaret tells Fiona that Reggie and Mindy have been arrested and have confessed. 

She says it was Antonio’s idea. Margaret has Antonio arrested. Fiona tries to wriggle out of it but she is taken into custody. The coronation moves back to Christmas Day. 

Fiona tells her that she sent Kevin away. Margaret heads to the airport to catch Kevin. She catches up with him and, along with Edward, Stacy and Mrs Donatelli stops him. Stacy tells Kevin that it was Fiona told him to leave. 

Margaret asks him to marry her. He says he wanted to marry her six months before. They both say yes. Margaret sees a priest and says they should get married right there and then. He marries them hurriedly. 

The next day, the Christmas coronation goes ahead and Margaret becomes queen of Montenaro. The end. 

Final thoughts: The Princess Switch: Switched Again is a pleasant film that is exactly as one would expect it to be. Hudgens is entertaining as all three characters and the rest of the supporting cast reprise their roles with ease. 

Hudgens, Hall and Norwood in the roles of Fiona, Mindy and Reggie respectively, bring a nice levity to proceedings, breaking away from the rom-com formula of the previous film slightly. Though the film still uses the swap as a crutch, it is utilised in a, as much as it ever could be, organic way and does not jar in the context of the film. 

As a festive film, The Princess Switch: Switched Again suffers the same weakness of many festive offerings in that it is not so much a Christmas film as a film set at Christmas. The story could’ve been set at any time of year. It is a minor gripe and does not impact the film. 

The Princess Switch: Switched Again, directed by Mike Rohl, who directed the first film, and is written by the same writers as the first film as well, Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger.

At ninety-six minute long, it is just over the standard ninety-minute mark of a standard rom-com but is not noticeable for it. The Princess Switch: Switched Again is a nice enough film in the run-up to the festive season and worth a watch.

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