image credit: Netflix

Review: The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (2021) **

The year is 2145. Neflixxar releases The Princess Switch 30X: Princesses In The Tenth Dimension. You can only view it by downloading it into your processor and the processor of your seven clones, which will allow you to act out the plot in real-time. Such is the Prophecy of the Switching Princesses: As the Switches gain more episodes, so too must the convolution of the Switches intensify.

Sounds good to you? Then I’m sad to say the third movie in this franchise will disappoint you.

The third Princess Switch actually gives us zero new princesses and I *think* there is less mistaken identity than in the second one.

I thought our over-the-top villainess Hudgens in PS2 might have been like the thunder before a real camp storm. Sure, my ideal logarithmic growth of Hudgens isn’t realistic, but shouldn’t TPS3 have included at least *one* more Vanessa Hudgens? I mean, really pushing this concept of a family that squirts out Vanessa Hudgens clones into the next century.

Instead, PS3 is a very low-temperature and low-stakes romantic suspense story about Villainess Hudgens slowly losing her camp potential to the march of heteronormativity and the hivemind-like placidity of the Hudgens Multiverse Family.

I wish that they would lean into the fun, fanciful elements of the franchise rather than trying to give us Emotions over the complicated childhood a wealthy, never-sees-prison villain feels toward her mom. The silly accent doesn’t offer much room for a nuanced performance, though Hudgens tries. My God does this woman try.

The element of this whole Switchery franchise to which Netflix committed is the fact that they evade anything interesting, giving us no more than the barest glimpse of more exciting ideas. If you’re on medically mandated bed rest, this is the franchise to keep that heart rate low.

It almost frustrates me *more* to have a fun sequence like Third Hudgens dodging lasers paralleling Second Hudgens doing the tango. She/they is so hot. And the easy cuts between scenes to create a simple visual metaphor reminds me that there are actually talented people making these movies, who totally know what they’re doing, but someone from Netflix is standing over them with a sandblaster ready to fire if they start enjoying themselves too much. “No! We saw her thigh! Someone’s eyes widened when she wore a wig! We have met our sexuality cap!”

I get impatient with movies that are *almost* good because I kinda wish they’d either commit to batshittery (hence: more fun) or shoot lower (like A Christmas Prince, which gave me almost no emotions whatsoever).

Everything in this franchise would be redeemed by making up one excuse for two Vanessa Hudgens making out. That’s my Christmas Wish.

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