christmas movies

This Is Far Too Many Vanessa Hudgenses

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

When it comes to big-money Netflix deals, I wouldn’t be surprised if Vanessa Hudgens, of High School Musical fame, has the best one: Every year, seemingly without fail, Netflix serves us a fresh Vanessa Hudgens holiday romp, and this year was no exception.

This storied collaboration began with 2018’s The Princess Switch, in which Hudgens plays a humble baker from Chicago named Stacy, who switches places with an obscure and glamorous royal, Lady Margaret of Montenaro (also played by Hudgens). Then, last year, we were treated to The Knight Before Christmas, in which Hudgens plays a high-school science teacher who falls for a time-traveling medieval knight. And now, we have the long-awaited sequel to her 2018 hit: the straightforwardly named The Princess Switch: Switched Again.

Switched again? you may wonder. But how could one improve on the original? The answer is that this film has added a third Vanessa Hudgens character: Lady Margaret’s evil cousin, Lady Fiona, who is distinguished from the other Vanessas by means of a blonde wig and Topshop holiday wear.

Nefarious Lady Fiona plots to steal the throne by kidnapping Lady Margaret and taking her place. In a classic Netflix-and-Hudgensian fashion, it turns out the kidnappee isn’t really Lady Margaret, but Stacy. Why would Stacy and Margaret switch again? Well, the latter needed time to rekindle her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, an ultrahot normie single dad named Kevin, before taking over the kingdom of Montenaro and becoming super busy. More switching takes place, until the bad Vanessa is switched into oblivion, and the remaining Vanessas are reunited with their respective boyfriends and kingdoms.

Is your brain leaking from your ears yet? I haven’t even mentioned the multiple romantic entanglements and thorny transnational political conflicts that arise when three women who look exactly the same serve as separate heads of state and are inclined to swap places to attend to their personal lives.

There are simply too many Vanessas. As the saying goes: Two’s company, three’s a crowd. But given this nascent holiday trend of extending the Princess Switch cinematic universe, I fear we may soon have to contend with four Vanessas in order to complete the trilogy. Unfortunately, I sort of can’t wait to see what high jinks they get up to.

This Is Far Too Many Vanessa Hudgenses