In the first 'The Princess Switch', a duchess named Margaret Delacourt, engaged to the Crown Prince Edward of Belgravia, and a baker named Stacy (both played by 'High School Musical' alum Vanessa Hudgens) bump into one another. Upon realising they're the spitting image of one another, they decide to switch lives for a couple of days. But while they're switched, Stacy falls in love with the Prince while Margaret falls for Stacy’s friend Kevin.
Stacy and Edward tie the knot, but Margaret and Kevin can't seem to work things out. Now that she’s about to become Queen of Montenaro, Margaret wants to give the relationship one last shot. Thus she and Stacy switch places again. The only trouble is that Fiona (again, Hudgens), Margaret’s cousin, has a plan to steal the throne for herself, and is using the fact that she's also identical to Margaret to her advantage.
'The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again' comes off the back of the success of its predecessor. Critics were surprisingly charmed by the Christmas rom-com, largely because Hudgens (who Netflix also cast in 'The Knight Before Christmas', in a bid to reiterate the winning formula) is so darn likable. In the sequel, it's up to her natural charm once again. After all, as you've likely surmised from the aforementioned plot, the story is predictable. It's a lazy and less substantial rehash of the first, crowned off with a completely ludicrous finale that’s supposedly romantic, but just nonsensical.
As with the first 'Princess Switch', the glamour of royalty makes for some pretty aesthetics. Netflix has utilised this effectively before not just in 'The Crown' but another Christmas movie series, 'A Christmas Prince'. Much like other Netflix original sequels, it relies much on you having seen the first film and being attached to these characters so they can launch right into the story. Those who haven't seen the first will thus be lost and confounded by the excess of sentimentality, as well as the silliness.
As it divulges such themes as love versus duty, and keeping busy versus stopping to smell the roses, and highlights that age-old question of how can two people from such different backgrounds ever be equal, it's all very Hollywood. But sure that's expected. Still it's lacking and even more derivative than its precursor (which is saying something, given that's based on 'The Prince and the Pauper'). And while some high points of the movie can be found in seeing Hudgens play Stacy, Margaret and Fiona playing each other, as identities get switched and switched again, there's a cumbersome cartoonish quality to Fiona which feels inadequate for Hudgens, who can definitely do more than what people give her credit. That's probably the most notable takeaway from this lacklustre sequel.
'The Princess Switch: Switched Again' is streaming on Netflix now.