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The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021) – Review: A Christmas Film That isn’t Afraid to Have Fun, Get Weird, and Go Big

November 21, 2021

Quick Note – Grade – B The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star knows exactly what it is, and isn’t afraid to have fun. During a season loaded with stock Christmas films that follow the same template, the Christmas Switch franchise has gone another direction and embraced the weird. Producer and star Vanessa Hudgens deserves a lot of credit for her performances, as she balances three different characters and is clearly having a blast.

Since 2018, The Christmas Switch franchise has been one of the best Christmas/holiday viewing options around. Why? The answer is, Vanessa Hudgens. What started as a switcheroo Christmas comedy involving a baker and a princess, has now morphed into a Christmas caper comedy involving three women who look exactly like each other, but, somehow, aren’t closely related. For the non-initiated, The Princess Switch films may seem like fluff, but if you’ve watched a lot of Hallmark/Lifetime/Netflix Christmas movies, you’ll know that this franchise is one of the best. Which is quite the compliment as the holiday film industry is absolutely booming, and every streaming service or television network knows that these movies get millions of views, and are needed to stay competitive in the battle for viewers. 

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star focuses on the retrieval of a priceless artifact called the “Star of Peace,” which was loaned to, and then stolen from Princess Stacy Wyndham of Belgravia and Lady Margaret Delacourt, Queen of Montenaro (both Hudegens). This is bad business as the artifact came from the Vatican, and is said to have been owned by Saint Nicholas himself. When the investigation can’t find any leads, Stacy and Margaret recruit Lady Fiona Pembroke (also Hudgens), who is serving thousands of hours of community service after attempting to steal the Montenaro throne in The Princess Switch: Switched Again. From there, the entire gang from the prior films reunite, and hatch a plan to steal the artifact back from the billionaire scuzzbucket Hunter Cunard. What follows is a whole lot of wholesome shenanigans that involves identity swaps, Entrapment-esque theft, and dancing sequences. 

What’s nice about the three Princess Switch films is that they know the formula, and have fun with it. Hudgens and director Mike Rohl (who directed all three films and also directed lots of  Eureka, Smallville and Supernatural episodes) aren’t trying to reinvent the Christmas movie wheel. Instead, they mostly stick to the tried-and-true formula, and focus on having fun. The majority of these types of movies play it wildly safe, and don’t let the actors go big, or have fun. They seem programmed by an AI algorithm that knows what is safe. The Princess Switch films aren’t afraid to adopt wonky accents, get silly, or embrace going big, and that’s what makes them enjoyable. I’d love to see Hudgens and crew come back and provide the world with more switcheroo insanity.

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