15 questions we have about Vanessa Hudgens' Netflix movie The Princess Switch
Of course, a movie about Vanessa Hudgens switching places with also-Vanessa Hudgens-but-with-a-questionable-British-accent on Netflix is going to have a few tiny plot holes. But a lot of things in Belgravia don’t seem to make sense, and we have questions. Questions like:
How successful is Stacy’s business?
Like your typical millennial, Stacy De Novo is the owner of a successful small business in a major American metropolis. The first piece of contextual information about her bakery, Stacy’s Sweets and Treats, is when a kindly old customer calls it “the best kept secret in Chicago.” Stacy smiles, but implores the woman to spread the word. Obviously, a bakery being a secret is fun for customers, but not so fun when you’re the owner of said bakery. Fine. Stacy’s bakery being a little under the radar would make sense as a motivation for her to enter an international baking competition (plus, maybe it has a cash prize we never hear about).
But the very next line in the film is Stacy’s baking assistant Kevin, talking about finishing an order for the mayor’s office. The mayor of Chicago! What kind of under-the-radar business is getting jobs from the mayor of Chicago!? And to make matters even more confusing, when Stacy arrives in Belgravia for the big baking competition, a reporter with an unplaceable accent places her on sight and wants to interview her because he says that she’s the baker to beat. She has an international reputation already! So what gives with this “best kept secret” nonsense?
And to make matters even more confusing, Stacy is able to close her bakery for the holidays, which seems like it would be a major time for a baking business. If she already has orders from the MAYOR, you’d think she has tons of other orders to fill. How is she able to just pick up and leave? This is a small business that she owns, not an hourly corporate job. Bad business strategy.
Why is Stacy wearing a hat that says “Chicago”?
I know we’re supposed to know we’re in Chicago, but we don’t need to read it on her hat. I am from Chicago. No one who lives there would wear that hat clearly purchased at O’Hare airport.
Why aren’t Stacy and Lady Margaret more freaked out that they met someone who looks exactly like them?
Have you seen the movie Three Identical Strangers? The first question you ask when you meet someone who looks exactly like you is, “Were you adopted?” Or even take a cue from The Parent Trap, and ask when their birthday is! Stacy and Margaret don’t even look like twins — they look identical. How are neither one of them freaking out? They’re totally content with a half-baked explanation about a long-lost cousin? That’s not how genetics work. I mean, they even have the same tattoo. They are either identical twins separated at birth, or they are part of a government cloning experiment.
Either way, they should investigate further. Personally, I’m wondering why they didn’t dig into the adoption question more, seeing as that’s a major plot point of A Christmas Prince, which Lady Margaret watches, and which we learn is Stacy’s favorite movie.
Have Prince Edward and Margaret not even… kissed yet?
When Stacy is subbing in for Lady Margaret, her PDA with the prince (at least until they fall in love for real) is limited to a dry peck on the cheek, the type reserved for a relative at Thanksgiving you don’t really care for — even when he visits his affianced in the evening in her room, while she’s in her nightgown. Not even a kiss on the lips for the woman you’re going to marry in a week? Even on The Bachelor, they get a night in the fantasy suite to find out if they’re…. compatible. You’re telling me in the year 2018, a handsome prince is still a virgin? Not to shame anyone for their choices, but that’s not something that anyone talks about or references, no one seems particularly religious, and it seems like only a full-on weirdo wouldn’t kiss his fiancée on the lips.
Why can’t Margaret experience life as a normal girl?
The reason that Lady Margaret enlists Stacy to do a life-swap with her is that Margaret just wants one day to experience life as a normal girl. But… why can’t she? A plot-point in the film is that Lady Margaret is extremely camera shy, and no one knows what she looks like. And so, it makes sense that when Stacy is walking around Belgravia before meeting Margaret, no one even bothers to give her a second glance. We don’t get the “Oh my god, it’s Isabella, take a wheel of cheese!” moment from The Lizzie McGuire Movie. In fact, the only time Stacy gets recognized on the street is when she’s the duchess-as-Stacy, and she’s recognized by the reporter as the favorite to win the baking contest. Stacy is more recognizable than Lady Margaret! So if Lady Margaret is so desperate to live a normal life, just for a day or so, why hasn’t she? By this film’s logic, all it takes is jeans and a T-shirt.
Why do they spend longer on their houses that their accents?
During the “teaching each other to act like the other person” montage, Stacy shows Lady Margaret pictures of her home and her bakery. This would make sense if, like in The Parent Trap, Lady Margaret was going to assume Stacy’s life in Chicago. But she’s not. How will the appearance of her house possibly come up? Who’s going to ask, “Hey Stacy, remind me, is your house a one-bedroom, two-bath, or what?” And they spend zero time practicing their accents which is demonstrably much harder, and much more important.
Why is Stacy so defensive about her interest in international trade?
It’s classic rom-com girl to sassily prove to the boy that she’s a lot more complex than he originally gave her credit for, but when “Lady Margaret” and the prince are riding horses, it doesn’t really make sense for Stacy to be so angry when the prince assumes she isn’t particularly interested in trade. I mean, is Stacy particularly interested international trade?
This is all taking for granted the fact that a nation’s prince, not even their monarch, is the one going off to negotiate trade deals, but is it that crazy rude for him to assume that the intricacies of tiny European nations’ wheat prices or whatever wouldn’t interest Lady Margaret? It’s not a character defect not to know or care about that stuff.
I went to an Ivy League school and I was a policy major, and I do not know anything about European trade deals. Stacy is a baker from Chicago; there is absolutely no reason for her to know about the prince’s duties. You can be a girl-power feminist and still not know everything!
But also, doesn’t this country have a parliament and prime minister? And if these are decisions the monarch makes, I mean… there’s a king right there. Why is this the prince’s responsibility at all?
How is the royal family so bad at charity?
It takes Stacy, a random American girl, to point out that they should maybe visit the orphanage the royal family raised money for? And reading books to children is such a special, generous move? In 2018, the monarchy basically only exists for charirty photo ops. How has this royal family never done any?
How is Stacy playing Twister in a skirt and heels?
A tight, straight-tailored mini-skirt, and heels. Twister is an ungainly game to play in privacy, let alone in a skirt, let alone in public, let alone if you’re the future king and queen of a country. There is a zero percent chance that an up-skirt shot wasn’t top of the Daily Mail the next day. Imagine the scandal of a royal behaving like that!
How are there not more wedding preparations a week before a royal wedding?
Surprisingly, nothing left to do except decide on whether a salad dressing should or shouldn’t have peanuts in it.
Why isn’t Stacy wearing a hat at her first breakfast as Margaret?
Okay, so this one takes a little explanation: when Stacy first pretends to be Lady Margaret, she’s in her nightgown trying on the duchess’ hats in her closet when the prince appears at the door. Still wearing the hat, she makes up a fake explanation that in Montenaro, it’s the custom to always wear a hat when you’re drinking tea, even if it’s at night, in your pajamas. And rules are the most important thing to Stacy — that’s her defining character trait. This is the first time she and the prince bond, because they both agree that rules should have no exceptions or substitutions. Drinking tea, wear a hat. Got it.
And yet the very next morning the duchess comes down for breakfast and drinks tea with no hat! If you’re going to make up fake rules, you have to abide by them! And the prince says nothing. This is our first indication that Prince Edward will be a weak and ineffective monarch, with no memory, or no interest in tradition and consistency.
Is the Christmas baking competition televised? Is it live?
Because no one seems to react or care when the duchess takes off her sunglasses and reveals that she looks identical to the woman who just won the competition, and they can all just privately speak backstage without worrying or caring about the fact they’re on a TV soundstage for a competition show still taping.
Why are they making berry puree for inside the cake when the cake is entirely finished?
So Stacy’s rival, Brianna, sneaks in the night before the competition to cut the cord of Stacy’s mixer. Even overlooking the fact that someone should have caught that earlier, and Stacy should be able to get a new one, the first time Stacy sees something is amiss is when she’s trying to puree some berries. But for what? The cake is already completed and fully frosted! It’s on their bench! And when the judges taste the cake, it seems like the puree is inside the cake as one of the layers? HOW? Also, who would use a mixer to make a berry puree? To make jam, you cook the berries in a saucepan. She needs a mixer for that but not, say, the frosting she already made?
Wait, why is Margaret marrying Prince Edward?
They briefly mention that since her parents died, she feels a need to uphold duty, but this isn’t the 17th century. She doesn’t need to marry a prince to forge an alliance between their nations. This isn’t how things work. And we know it’s not how things work because when the prince announces a week before their wedding that he’s actually marrying a random baker from Chicago, no one cares. The king and queen don’t care. This wasn’t some important arranged marriage and he doesn’t have to marry someone from a royal family. And neither does Lady Margaret because she is super happy dating Kevin. So why were they getting married in the first place?
Who is the magic old man who keeps appearing?
WHO IS THIS OLD MAN! I AM FURIOUS. WHAT SORT OF “CHRISTMAS WISH” DID HE GRANT? IS HE AN ANGEL? HE DOESN’T DO ANYTHING MAGICAL! HE JUST SAYS RANDOM BITS OF EXPOSITION! You can’t introduce a magical angel-character without a wink to the audience or reveal that he’s actually an angel or something, because as it stands, he is just a very, very nosy stranger. The weirdest part is when Stacy sees him in Belgravia after seeing him in Chicago a week prior, and she asks about it. “How would I be in Chicago?” he asks with condescension. Um, on a plane, you weirdo. Stacy was in Chicago, and now she’s here. That’s how international travel works. I hate you, you deux ex machina old man piece of garbage. You’re the worst.
The Princess Switch is now streaming on Netflix.