I’m up super early to get this one in, as Saturday is generally a busy day for us in the Just So You Don’t Have To house. I have been psyched to see this one since I found out about it, and without further ado, I present my first Netflix film for the season – The Princess Switch, starring Vanessa Hudgens, who we hope is good in this, because I think she takes chances and good for her (Gigi on Broadway, I’m looking at you – although not really as I didn’t see it).
First off, Netflix – no commercials – yay!
Standard beginning of B-roll of a city – this time it’s Chicago. I do love Chicago, and I say this as an East Coast Girl. Vanessa stars as Stacy, owner of Stacy’s Sweet Treats. Her sous chef is Kevin Richards, who has a little girl. I didn’t know bakeries have sous chefs. There’s a Christmas Baking contest in a European country called Belgravia (which is also a section of London, which will explain why they will all speak in British accents.) When Stacy broke up with long-time boyfriend Paul, Kevin decided to enter the contest, and they’ve been invited to compete! All expenses paid! They live in a cottage! There’s a handsome prince! Why doesn’t Stacy want to go? Battle-weary after her break-up? Wants to plan out her life to the last second? Not ready to move on? Kevin quotes John Lennon – “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun! He’s there to say Christmas magic is there for everyone! And he’s also there to facilitate a meeting between Stacy and her ex-boyfriend Paul, who’s moved on to a WASPy girl named Taylor. This pushes Stacy to Belgravia and a Baking Competition.
Belgravia does not have Snow Plows, but their cottages are cute and come pre-decorated for Christmas. And the town has a Christmas Fair. Oh my goodness, this is my dream place. They also have carollers who sing in Irish accents. And the Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun is back, selling stockings at the Christmas Fair. Daughter of sous-chef is excited about the stockings, and we get backstory on Prince Edward of Belgravia, set to marry the Duchess of Montenarro, who is camera shy and no one has ever seen her before. Like that would happen.
There’s a bitch at the competition named Brianna Michaels. She and Stacy have a backstory – they went to the Cordon Bleu together, and Stacy reminds Brianna that she slept with the faculty. Brianna also finds Kevin the sous chef attractive and vindictively spills coffee on Stacy, prompting the meet between Stacy DiNovo and the Duchess of Montenarro. Yay split screening! Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenarro needs a consultation with a baker about her wedding cake and invites Stacy to the palace – and that ploy is so see-through I’m amazed it doesn’t have Saran Wrap branded on it. Duchess also says it’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone.
Stacy and Sous Chef Daughter (Olivia?) have a secret, very convoluted handshake that also has footwork involvement. She also tells dad that she wants him and Stacy to date, but, backstory time, they’ve known each other since high school and it’s not like that with them. So we’ve cleared that bit of the plot up.
Off Stacy goes to the palace – where there is a sympathetic older lady-in-waiting, and we get a truncated Duchess family tree – they might be related – and the switch part comes in – Duchess wants to be a normal girl for two days before she has to marry Prince Edward on New Year’s Day. And, in kind, Stacy wants to send Olivia to the Belgravia Ballet Conservatory for the summer, so it’s win-win all around – except for prepping for that pesky baking competition and everything. Stacy’s in!
Montage! Stacy has to get a very cute bob, learn the royal family tree. She also has to learn how to walk like a Duchess, and Duchess has to learn to walk like a girl from Chicago. Curtseying! Changing out Phones! Learning to speak like each other! (Duchess disdains Stacy’s attempt at her accent with a “Do I really speak that Downton Abbey.” And that was funny. But wait – Prince Edward approaches and they’ve got to act fast. And backstory to this wedding – Prince Edward and Duchess have met twice before they got engaged. Great way to start a marriage. Stacy gives the Duchess a lazy eye to distract Prince Edward from her staring at the sofa behind which real Duchess is hiding. Brilliant.
Off Duchess goes to be Stacy for 2 days. She’s really, really nervous, but also finds Kevin super attractive.
Back to Stacy in the palace. Lady-in-Waiting is blindly loyal to Duchess, and off Stacy goes to sleep in a very glam silk nightgown and furry mules. But not before she goes playing in Duchess’s closet and tries on the hat from the shopping scene in Pretty Woman. But her delight is interrupted by Edward, who quotes The Little Prince (something about being organized, I haven’t read it in a very long time) and Stacy is so enchanted by someone else being as dedicated to a schedule as she is that she gets starry-eyed.
Stacy’s breakfast with the royals is very awkward – she’s doing that pinky thing with her tea cup, and uh oh, Edward is there. He didn’t go to Spain! He’s determined to spend as much time as possible with Duchess – and they even have time to go to a ball that night! A Ball! Yay! And Edward gives her a tiara and it’s gorgeous and I want one. He even proposes riding and Stacy is freaking out. It’s cute, but King Dad is suspicious and assigns a watchdog.
Olivia is very suspicious about Duchess and tests it with the secret handshake that of course is wrong.
Riding Time! Stacy looks great in that little helmet. How does she do that? She also falls off the horse but blames it on her pants. As you do. There are also chandeliers in the barn.
They ride in the snow, but then switch to green screen for the close-ups. And we get a bit of ingrained misogyny when the Prince says that she shouldn’t worry about affairs of state because she’s got a wedding to plan, and Stacy gets upset about that as any 21st Century Woman would get upset and off she goes to ride away and call Duchess to vent. Olivia is now in on the secret, and Duchess blows off Stacy’s cry for help with a quick “Toodles.”
The henchman that King Dad assigns to watch over Stacy is getting foiled at every turn by nice Lady in Waiting. It’s cool.
Back to Duchess and Olivia and Kevin – they are painting something weird in the town square, and the Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun appears to say something about 2 people in love to Kevin, and to make sure that Kevin looks at Duchess in a new way. And then Olivia asks Santa for a new Mom, and that makes Kevin choke on his coffee.
Edward apologizes to Stacy for his misogyny. He wants the marriage to work, and there’s something about her that just intrigues him. As she walks away he gets the wistful eyes. Then we cut to Duchess, Kevin, and Olivia having a snowball fight in the middle of the town square in the fakest snow ever.
Charity Ball Time! Grand Entrance on a Staircase! Drink! Cuteness ensues when they stop under the mistletoe, but then Stacy puts her foot in it while asking the King and Queen specifics about the charity that the ball is in honor of. How dare she ask how many people the charity helps! They have people who know those details! King Dad is really annoyed with this question, and honestly, shut up, King Dad. To get out of this, Prince Edward volunteers Stacy to play something on the piano, but that’s just a ploy to get to hold her hand as he walks her through a duet of “Carol of the Bells.” She doesn’t even take off her gloves. Aww, he’s so cute. Now Stacy has the swoony eyes.
For some reason, Stacy goes outside in a strapless dress in a snow-covered country and heads out to the gazebo. And Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun is there to match-make and point Prince Edward in her direction. Cue dancing amid the many, many Christmas lights in the gazebo. Stacy magically knows how to waltz.
Back in the cottage, there’s a tacky white Christmas tree in Duchess’s room, and when Kevin knocks on her door without a shirt, she is swimming in drool.
Next day it’s a snowy carriage ride for Stacy and Prince Edward. There’s so much snow on the ground, I don’t know why they are not in a sleigh. Stacy also gives Edward some much-needed advice on how to be a better benefactor to a charity amid the pine trees – so off they go to read “The Night Before Christmas” to the charity children. She does this in a very short skirt and way too high heels, and in honor of the holiday, they must provide the charity children with more charity, so off they go to shop and bake for Christmas. Stacy is thrilled and hugs Edward, who is adorably flustered by it.
Cut to Duchess and Kevin walking the streets – getting accosted by an Irish journalist who wants to write a feature on Stacy’s bakery in Chicago, and says she’s the one to beat -which does not sit well with resident bitch Brianna – remember her? Something is going to happen with her.
Back to toy shopping – Stacy makes Edward play Twister. Because that’s what you do. But uh-oh, Duchess, Kevin, and Olivia arrive at the toy store and lots of stuff happens to keep them apart – even Magical Salvation Army Leprechaun helps!
Back at the Palace, the Prince doesn’t know how to wrap. Queen Mom overhears their chat and likes it all, but King Dad still thinks there’s something wrong with that girl, only until his wife tells him to stop being a jerk. Only nicely. Back at the shelter, everyone is having a great time until more mistletoe happens – but this time it’s a much better kiss.
Back at the cottage, Duchess and Kevin have another moment, and Olivia says that Duchess Duty is dumb if you’re doing things you don’t want to do. It’s almost time for Duchess and Stacy to switch back, but not before Kevin says that there’s something different about “Stacy” and in a very meta moment, Kevin and Stacy switch on Netflix for a Christmas movie and they settle on A Christmas Prince.
Palace – Edward gives Stacy a priceless family heirloom and says he’s totally ready to get married and cue more smooches in the gallery. And Stacy is really devastated that she has to switch back because she loves him so much. SAD TIMES!
Cottage – Duchess is CRYING at the end of A Christmas Prince. Kevin got her a locket with their picture inside it, and she’s gonna cry again, and Kevin feels like his feelings are growing for his good friend Stacy and kisses by the fireplace ensue until Duchess says she’s sorry for kissing him and devastates poor Kevin. That was such the wrong move, Duchess!
Back at the competition, Bitch Brianna cuts the cord on the stand mixer. Like people can’t mix by hand.
Switching back time – they both realize they’re in love with the “wrong” people. And yikes! Henchman tries taking pictures of two of them together from outside on a balcony – which he promptly falls off of, but he saves the camera. Off he goes to share the news with King Dad, but gets blocked by Queen Mom. But while Queen Mom wonders what to do, Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun tells her that even though Stacy’s a baker, she looks like a princess.
Competition Time! 5 hours for a Christmas cake. The audience is excited but damn, 5 hours of watching people bake.
Queen Mom wants Edward to find out the truth, so she sends Edward and Duchess to hand out the ribbons at the Competition, and Duchess is suitably freaked out by this.
Competition – Stacy has to puree the berries by hand! Quelle horreur!
Younger Son is awake and tells me that Duchess wants to be with Kevin and Stacy wants to be with Edward and why won’t they just get on with it already. Indeed.
Duchess has to come clean with Edward (which then happens off -camera) and off they go to the competition floor. Everyone’s aprons are spotless, which is the most unbelievable thing about this unbelievable movie. The judges think the berry puree is not as smooth as they wanted, but…Stacy wins! Suck it Brianna!
Edward and Duchess are there to present the awards. Kevin’s jaw hits the floor when he sees there are 2 Stacys. And Duchess is in love with Kevin and with being ‘normal.’ Edward has to explain it to Kevin, and Kevin says “Doesn’t that kind of piss you off, that she’s in love with me?” And Edward is like, “No, dude, I’m in love with Stacy.” Magically, he’s not mad at all. Duchess and Kevin get the romantic kiss that Olivia’s been waiting for, and then we have to get through a very heartfelt declaration of love from Edward and a lot of protestations from Stacy and a very public proposal, but in a nice twist, he asks her for a wedding in a year – so they’ll actually get to know each other and she can work out the logistics of getting her bakery to Belgravia.
Next year, Stacy’s in a wedding dress with way too many jewels in her hair, and Olivia is the flower girl, and Duchess catches the bouquet, prompting a nonchalant proposal from Kevin, and King and Queen are remarkably fine with Prince Edward marrying a baker from Chicago. And Magic Salvation Army Leprechaun is like, my work is done.
There are deer on their wedding cake. Lots of kissing and The End.
I loved every minute of this movie. I loved Vanessa’s horrible British accent. I loved all the fake snow. I loved how Lady-in-Waiting kept foiling Henchman. I loved.it.all. You need to watch this movie. I will do it again before Christmas is over, just so you don’t have to.