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For Some Reason, I'm Writing a Review of "The Princess Switch"

I don’t normally review things, especially Netflix Original content, though as I write that, I realize in a previous blog entry I did mention two other Netflix Original commodities. In my own way, I’m doing this as a “bit.” And yes, I have a problem with the burgeoning duopolization of content that Amazon and Netflix have in the movie and TV industry. The fear is that our entertainment options will be so profuse, and yet so homogeneous, that there will be no point at all in watching anything new (the irony of this statement will strike you later in this review.)

What we are willing to put up with at the cinema and in our homes is very different, at least to me. Amazon is taking a much more traditional route, funding projects and releasing them in theatres first months before offering them online, although Netflix has started to do the same. Arguably, Amazon has a better track record, with critical hits like “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Big Sick.” Netflix has its own “hits,” but in a much different way. Ahem - just because a lot of people watch something, doesn’t mean that thing is good.

I think there is room for everyone at the table. I still like to go see movies. The ones I want to see, I do. When something is rentable, I pay to rent it. What I usually go for on services like Netflix are its original offerings, or sometimes, movies that I’ve already seen a hundred times but because I’ve had a hard day, need to be soothed by the sights and sounds of something so familiar, that it is part of my body’s cellular structure.

Which brings me to “The Princess Switch,” which is somehow both of those things. No, I didn’t see it before today, but didn’t need to. It is a movie so familiar, that you need not fret that something unexpected will happen. No, my dear. You know this plot already, beat for beat.

What is surprising is how likable the star, Vanessa Hudgens, manages to be. The last time I saw her speak in any real capacity, was when she co-hosted the Billboard Music Awards with Ludacris (this links to their opening monologue with an unspeakably embarrassing rap that Vanessa bursts into mid-monologue, unaccompanied.) If you’ve seen any of the High School Musical films (is it okay to call them “films?”) or perhaps as the titular Gigi in the 2015 Broadway Revival, you may know that her voice can sometimes slip into a shrill upper register. (Using the word “shrill” to describe any woman in 2018 I agree might be problematic, but I promise I am using the term correctly in a way to describe vocal tone and technique.)

In this film, she speaks in a lower register that suits her. It feels natural and evolved. Her British accent is bad. Very bad. But that doesn’t matter in a movie such as this one. What you care about is the romance, the swift pace, and the cheesy dialogue that in some parts appears to completely rip off “The Parent Trap.”

I won’t comment on the plot, because I don’t need to. And you don’t need to think to enjoy this movie. You probably don’t even need a brain to enjoy this movie. You, yes you, you genetically-engineered amorphous blob that lives in a jar underground in a secret lab: You will enjoy this! It’s easy, it’s breezy, it’s delightful?

I don’t enjoy things. It’s rare that I do. It’s one of the qualities that makes me so desirable (I have no friends). But somehow, I enjoyed this. So watch it. Or don’t. But Netflix, this is the type of content that I’m here for. Not the dark, contrived, desperate to be deep stuff you so often brand your name on (please see previous blog entries for reference.)

There’s a chance I will watch this movie again, or at least the second half, because I dozed off at some point (are you mad you read this review?)

Anyway, Happy Holidays. Take some time to unironically enjoy schlock, until the New Year, when you decide to be a better person for six weeks. Ta-ta for now!

Cameron HarrieComment