The Vanessa Hudgens Triplets Go Full 'Mission: Impossible' for Netflix's 'The Princess Switch 3'
This time, Vanessa Hudgens is the star. No, the other one. No, the OTHER one.
Here at Thrillist Entertainment, we love the Netflix Christmas Cinematic Universe. Where else would you find Kurt Russell and his IRL wife Goldie Hawn playing Santa and Mrs. Claus, or an ever-increasingnumber of Vanessa Hudgenses vying for control of a fictional European kingdom that always seems to be celebrating the holidays? Speaking of the Vanessa doppelgängers, The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star is now on Netflix, which basically means the holiday season has officially begun.
When we catch back up with our royal extended family, the newly crowned Queen Margaret of Montenaro (Vanessa Hudgens) and her lookalike friend Belgravian Princess Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens) are getting ready to celebrate another Christmas, and this time the Vatican has loaned out the Star of Peace, a very special tree topper (???), to sit atop Montenaro's Christmas tree. Not even 10 minutes into the movie the Star of Peace is stolen from the palace, and Margaret and Stacy realize their only chance of getting it back is busting Margaret's conniving cousin Lady Fiona (Vanessa Hudgens) out of her community service sentence she received for trying to steal the crown in the last movie, and using her thieving know-how and connections within the Montenaran criminal underworld to save Christmas once again.
Unlike the previous installments in the series, which mainly focused on the friendship between prim Margaret and scrappy Chicagoan Stacy, Lady Fiona (and her catchphrases "steeeamy" and "meee-yowww") is the main character of The Princess Switch 3, which doubles as both a villain origin story and a bad guy redemption narrative rolled into one (the Marvel Cinematic Universe is shaking). After Fiona agrees to help retrieve the Star of Peace, she reconnects with her master thief ex-boyfriend Peter (Remy Hii), who forces her to reckon with her sordid past and her tendency to pull away when she's afraid of catching real feelings for someone, and the reappearance of Fiona's absent mother gives us some insight into her lonely childhood Christmases.
Like the best Hollywood blockbusters, the emotional narrative is sandwiched between nail-biting action scenes that give Jason Bourne a run for his money, running the spy movie gamut from Mission: Impossible wire work to Quantum of Solacetouchscreen tables to Ocean's 12laser sensor acrobatics. "How very James Bond," Fiona says, and we can't argue with that.
As with everything that came before, The Princess Switch 3 is delightfully self-aware, poking fun at the meta-narrative with lengthy back-and-forths about how one of the Vanessas impersonating another is an absurdly silly idea, and even introducing a tinsel-strewn villain basement club where people flirt by saying things like, "You owe me a tango." It's a lot like watching a school play: It's not Shakespeare, but it's obvious from the lengthy end credits dance sequence that everyone involved had a good time living in a world where even the most despicable scoundrels, the worst of the worst, will wish each other a Merry Christmas.