Stacy just broke up with her boyfriend so to cheer her up, her dedicated employee and sous-chef Kevin somehow snagged her an invitation to the royal bake-off in Belgravia. Don’t you wish your assistant arranged free European trips for you? Anyway, I’m not sure what qualified her to be in this contest, one of just 6 contestants from the whole world; even back home in Chicago she’s their “best-kept secret” which means most Chicagoans haven’t even heard of her.
Anyway, once they’re in “Belgravia” (with sets and “snow” that remind us an awful lot of the sets used for “Chicago” which in turn remind us of very cheaply sourced sets built shoddily in California), Stacy runs into the reclusive Duchess set to marry the Prince, hence the royal bake-off preceding the New Year’s Day wedding. The Duchess looks awfully familiar – like, an exact carbon copy of Stacy, only with a slightly shorter, flippier hairstyle. Hint hint: easily replicated. Yes! The Duchess has always wanted to explore what it’s like to be “normal” so they decide to switch places for the two days leading up to the competition. Parent Trap, anyone? Cue the princess makeover!
Is Vanessa Hudgens up for two such demanding roles? One might argue she isn’t up for one. One might argue she isn’t up to the European accent. Or the Chicago one.
These Netflix Christmas movies are self perpetuating now; the couple sits down to Netflix (& chill?) in front of the very popular A Christmas Prince (so popular it’s getting a sequel at the end of the month, called A Royal Wedding, sure to bring almost exactly the same thing the first one did). Netflix’s holiday lineup is reassuringly formulaic. They always get together after a lengthy will they won’t they based on them practically hating each other but then witnessing one sweet act that not only negates all the disturbing red flags from before, but allows for them to fall in love at lightning speed. While A Christmas Prince is an anomaly, many of the couples end up married mere moments after determining that they do not, in fact, hate each other – twice now we’ve seen the new couple literally subsume someone else’s wedding when their relationship conveniently falls apart at the altar.
By no standards is this a good movie, but like a pair of old slippers, it’s comforting, familiar, and it delivers exactly what it promises. Only those with high tolerances for cheese and schmaltz should apply: a fatal overdose is entirely possible for those unused to the genre.