There’s something special about holiday-themed romantic comedies. Sure, they tend to be far-fetched, typically consisting of two unlikely people becoming a couple against all odds. Yet there’s nothing wrong with watching something that makes you happy, even if it’s not completely realistic. The "Princess Switch" movies, without a doubt, take place in a magical world, though the elements of the film might land differently for adults and children.
"The Princess Switch" follows Stacy De Novo (Vanessa Hudgens), a woman who owns a thriving pastry shop in Chicago. But alas, this is a rom-com, and she’s also ailing from a breakup with her ex-boyfriend. Her longtime friend Kevin Richards (Nick Sagar) attempts to break her out of her supposed funk by entering her into a baking contest that just so happens to be in the Kingdom of Belgravia. Accompanied by his cheerful and full-of-life daughter Olivia Richards (Alexa Adeosun in the first film and Mia Lloyd in the second), Kevin and Stacy travel to another country to compete in the baking competition. Though things are pleasantly turned upside down when Stacy meets her doppelgänger, Lady Margaret (also played by Hudgens), the film is sprinkled with movie magic and the events are gift-wrapped with holiday joy.
Throughout two films, Stacy (who becomes a princess at the end of the first movie) and Lady Margaret (who becomes a queen at the end of the second movie) switch twice, while a third Hudgens character enters the picture (Margaret’s cousin, Lady Fiona Pembroke) and does her own character switch. Here are things only adults notice throughout the pleasant journey that’s the "Princess Switch" movies.
Closing a bakery during Christmastime is bad for business
Going on a charming journey during the holidays might seem gratifying, but adults will notice that you can’t just leave your business because you want a last-minute vacation, especially when said business is a bakery that has actual customers who come to the store.
Though Kevin is just trying to help Stacy, he asks her to leave her pastry shop during the holiday season to compete in a competition in another country. And even though this competition could help the pastry shop, winning it doesn’t take away from the fact that Stacy would be leaving her company during one of the busiest times of the year (all those Christmas cookies aren’t going to bake themselves).
On that note, who even watches the shop when the owners leave in each movie? Stacy owns and runs a pastry shop in the first movie, and Kevin seemingly runs his own bakery in "The Princess Switch: Switched Again." Surely, there’s a competent manager who can oversee the stores, but the audience has to assume that the pastry shop/bakery closes, since neither Kevin nor Stacy reach out to their stores once they leave Chicago. It’s as if they no longer exist, and all worries of running them conveniently disappear.
There are baking competitions in the United States
Kevin wants Stacy to be more spontaneous and get over her ex-boyfriend, so he enters her into a baking competition. The kicker? It’s in another country. Though Kevin is clearly trying to help his friend, a seasoned audience member will notice that there are countless baking competitions in the United States –– and Kevin could have entered her in one of those. If anything, it would appear that many people come to America to compete in these events.
Kevin and Stacy live in Chicago, which is, to say the least, one of the biggest –– not to mention liveliest –– cities in the country. Surely, there would be a notable baking competition he could have entered in Chicago. Nevertheless, Kevin wants Stacy to stop burying herself in work. He wants her to stop worrying about everyday life. He wants her to enjoy the holiday season while still doing what she loves to do (make food) –– yet in a different country.
There’s no specific amount of time to get over a breakup
Heartbroken over her relationship ending, Kevin feels the need to tell Stacy that it’s time to move on from her breakup, even though she’s not ready to fully let go. As adults will understand, there’s no set time to get over someone. Grieving is a complicated process and everyone is different.
While the internet is littered with self-help and romance advice, real-life humans aren’t machines –– just because a certain amount of time has passed after a breakup, that doesn’t mean someone has to be over it. Stacy can and should take as much time as she needs to heal. Luckily, she decides to enter the baking competition. She then meets a duchess and switches places with her –– and she inadvertently meets and falls in love with the man of her dreams, who just so happens to be a prince. In the end, Kevin’s plan works, but that doesn’t change the fact that Stacy is allowed to grieve for as long as she wants.
Trading places is a terrible way to tackle life’s problems
Though the premise of the "Princess Switch" movies revolves around Stacy and Margaret trading places, more seasoned viewers will notice that swapping lives (and dodging your responsibilities) is a terrible way to tackle life. Things would seemingly be easier if Stacy and Margaret took care of their own issues. Although Stacy and Margaret only switch places for a handful of days in each film, swapping lives for any amount of time seems to be more trouble than it’s worth.
They’re not trading places for groundbreaking events: In both cases, Margaret wants to switch lives with Stacy for pleasure. In the first film, she wants to see how it feels to be a normal person as she’s not quite ready to marry Prince Edward Wyndham (Sam Palladio). In the second movie, Margaret trades places with Stacy so she can spend time with Kevin to see if he’s right for her as the two broke up between the first and second movies. Even still, these events seem like they could have occurred in Margaret’s free time.
Just look at how "well" trading places worked out for Fiona … though her plan was more on the devious side. Fiona abducts the person she believes is Margaret, and then it blows up in her face when she’s discovered. That could have happened to Stacy and Margaret, but it thankfully didn’t.
Margaret is viewed as different by the royal family because she has a mind of her own
Though Stacy and Margaret might look identical (because both roles are played by Vanessa Hudgens), they have different personalities, viewpoints, and accents. When Stacy switches places with Margaret, she speaks freely as Margaret. The royal family, to say the least, isn’t pleased at first, though these acts lead to Prince Edward falling in love with the woman he believes is Margaret.
Because this royal family apparently hasn’t joined the 21st century, they view "Margaret" as different because she has an opinion. This shows everything wrong with this royal family, though the film conveniently dances over this plot point. The royals also say some of the things she does aren’t dignified, such as wrapping gifts for children –– apparently, royals need servants to wrap and deliver gifts for them. This type of classist behavior is bizarre, and easily spotted by an adult.
The grass is always greener on the other side
You can’t make it to adulthood without hearing the popular phrase "the grass is greener on the other side." In a nutshell, it means other people’s lives might appear better than their own, though their situation isn’t actually as good as it seems. In the case of "The Princess Switch," Stacy and Margaret are both suffering from a bout of "grass is greener"-itis.
Stacy, in the simplest terms, desires structure, and Margaret wants to be spontaneous. Luckily, they’re identical to one another, so they can just swap places, step in each other’s shoes, and see how the other one lives. Of course, adult viewers will be aware that, though someone’s life might seem picture perfect on the surface, everyone has their own unique problems. All lives have ups and downs, twists and turns –– and Margaret and Stacy aren’t exempt from this, not even in a Christmas romantic comedy.
Two days is a short amount of time to fall in love
Though love is complicated, both couples –– Stacy and Edward as well as Margaret and Kevin –– fall in love in two days in the first film. It’s uncharitable to pick nits, especially when love is involved, but as adults well know, two days is a short amount of time to get to know someone, let alone fall for them.
For adults who’ve had roommates before, they know people’s everyday habits aren’t always easy to live with, even if they’ve known the person a long time before moving in together. The movie’s two couples could drastically change if they were to move in with their partners. Yet they jump to love –– at all costs, let the bells ring.
That said, the "Princess Switch" movies take place during the holidays, arguably the most romantic time of the year, a time when people desire to fall in love –– and the characters are placed in a beautiful atmosphere. And just like there’s no set time to get over a breakup, there’s no set time for two people to fall head over heels for one another. But seriously, they should at least move in with one another before getting married, or perhaps get to know each other a bit better first.
Kevin must be going through some complicated emotions
Kevin has known Stacy for a long time. When Stacy and Margaret switch places, he begins to have feelings for Margaret, who he thinks is Stacy. Being in love with Margaret, who’s virtually identical to his best friend, has to be extremely complicated for Kevin. Then he finds out Stacy isn’t Margaret. Yet the adventure continues. At the start of the second film, Kevin and Margaret are broken up, yet Kevin still talks to Stacy, who is, again, identical in appearance to Margaret.
As adults will understand, having to see your ex after breaking up can be an extremely emotional and difficult time, though not all separations are the same. Still, Kevin must be going through some rollercoaster feelings in the "Princess Switch" movies, given Margaret and Stacy look like the same person. To make things even more complicated, Fiona also looks like Margaret and Stacy.
Burying yourself in work after a breakup isn’t the worst idea
Although Kevin wants to break up the monotony in the first film to get his best friend out of her rut, Stacy continues to bury herself in work. In the second film, the tables turn and Kevin focuses on work after his breakup. Both characters decide to work hard after they separate with their significant others, which actually isn’t the worst approach to get over someone you care about.
As more seasoned viewers will notice, breakups are tough and they can lead to a storm of unproductiveness and bad habits (pints of ice cream included). Yet Kevin and Stacy keep the wheels turning and their businesses stay successful (at least we assume they do). What would be worse is if they didn’t do anything but romanticize their relationships in their heads. Both are hurting, yet life must go on. Having the rest of your life fall apart is, in fact, a terrible way to handle a failed relationship.
Apparently, not dating is an issue in this universe
Romantic comedies are flooded with love –– it’s the integral force that moves the plot. Adults will notice, however, that not dating when you’re single isn’t a bad thing. People don’t have to date or be in a relationship to be whole. Everyone is different and not all people want a white-picket-fence ending.
But when our beloved main characters aren’t putting themselves out there after a breakup, their lives somehow seem like utter chaos. It’s okay to date and it’s okay to do the opposite –– it’s the dealer’s choice, really, and no one should be shamed or judged for either path. The "Princess Switch" movies are light-hearted and each main character is only trying to help the other one out. People aren’t somehow a failure if they’re still single by a certain age, though movies might make it seem otherwise.
Why would Kevin go to Margaret’s coronation?
In "The Princess Switch: Switched Again," Margaret is about to become queen. Similar to the first film, yet reversing the roles, Stacy wants to get Kevin over his breakup by … leaving Chicago. Simply put, Stacy asking Kevin to attend Margaret’s coronation is absurd.
Kevin and Margaret broke up not too long ago. He’s trying to get over her and on with his life. Traveling halfway across the world to see your ex is approaching stalker status. Stacy plans to get the duo back together, and she achieves just that by the movie’s end, but as adult viewers will understand, crossing state –– or, in this case, country –– lines to attend your ex’s big day is a tad much, especially when you’re still crushing over said ex. Luckily for Kevin, Margaret still has feelings for him and she’s also an extremely nice and caring person.
How well does Prince Edward even know his wife?
We get it: Stacy and Margaret look alike. And we understand the "Princess Switch" movies are meant to be nothing more than cheerful romps. Still, how does Edward not recognize his own wife after Margaret and Stacy switch in the second film? Reminder: Stacy and Margaret aren’t identical twins. They’re just presumably related because they look alike.
In Edward’s defense, he’s suspicious of his wife and tries to check on her when she’s supposedly not feeling well. But Olivia continually stops him from seeing her. Yet there’s still the scene when he has a conversation with Margaret –– who’s actually Stacy –– in the "The Princess Switch: Switched Again." Unless he really does know the difference between the two and is telling Margaret personal information about his relationship on purpose, he should realize the difference between his wife and someone who just looks like her.
Who’s the mysterious old man?
In the "Princess Switch" films, an older gentleman subtly intervenes with the main characters by pushing them in the direction of love. Yet it’s never explained how he happens to be wherever they are, no matter the country. Though a younger mind might overlook this bit of information, it’s not hard for an adult to wonder how this man continues to come into their lives. What does he know? Is he an angel? He’s never explained. Yet he appears when one of the main characters needs him most. Without him, would they get their happy ever afters?
Ultimately, the "Princess Switch" movies aren’t meant to be taken totally at face value — they’re romantic comedies sprinkled with fantastical elements. The films’ passages might land differently for kids and adults, but all viewers are unified in appreciating a holiday film that’s truly a fairytale. Here’s hoping the third "Princess Switch" installment provides the same sentiment.