I should have known that Vanessa Hudgens was destined to make a lasting impact on the holiday movie scene ever since her iconic character Gabriella Montez was featured in the “High School Musical” trilogy at a New Years party. Now know that every time one of his characters finds snow or hot chocolate, we’re witnessing a wonderfully cheesy movie. Or two. Or three.
Most of Gen Z, including myself, grew up watching Hudgens in the “High School Musical” movies – you’ve seen the movies once and heard the soundtrack classics every now and then ( most people), or sitting in the front row when the movies premiered in theaters and I still have all the songs memorized (me). Recently, Hudgens made a name for himself in another film trilogy, this time in the Netflix Christmas Cinematic Universe.
“The Princess Switch” (2018), “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” (2020) and “The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star” (2021) form the heart of Hudgens’ Christmas films. This trilogy tells the story of a pastry chef named Stacy who discovers that she is a doppelganger of Lady Margaret, a duchess and future queen of a fictional European nation, during a pastry competition in another European country that is just as vague.
Between Stacy falling in love with Lady Margaret’s fiance – who happens to be a prince – and Lady Margaret falling in love with Stacy’s business partner in the first film, to Lady Margaret’s nasty cousin Fiona trying to steal Margaret’s throne during her crowning in the second film, to the three women who unite to find the thief who stole the precious Christmas relic given to the kingdom of Queen Marguerite by the Vatican (?!) In the third film, there is a lot to follow – especially since the top three women are all played by Hudgens.
If you remember Lindsay Lohan playing two characters in “The Parent Trap” (1998), you can think of Hudgens’ work in “The Princess Switch” trilogy in the same way. But instead of playing identical twins separated at birth as Lohan, Hudgens portrayed look-alikes: a Chicago baker and a vaguely European duchess – in addition to the Duchess’ nasty cousin in the last two films in the series.
The twisted story may seem comically absurd to you, but the “Princess Switch” movies have managed to captivate audiences for several Christmas seasons in a row – otherwise there wouldn’t be three. The trilogy makes people to want find consistency in all dramas, love triangles, and false identities, whether they consider it “good cinema” or not.
According to Hudgens in an interview, these films have a charm that “fills our hearts with love, empathy, dreams and whatever feel you want for the holiday season.”
Essentially, “The Princess Switch” movies are the wellness vacation movies we didn’t know we needed. And I couldn’t agree more: Laughing at a wonderfully cheesy movie with an overly practical storyline makes me feel good, especially when it ends in one happily ever after.
Not to be forgotten, “The Knight Before Christmas” (2019) – note the pun, please and thank you – to top Hudgens’ Christmas film repertoire so far. Through her work as a producer and lead actress, Hudgens tells the story of Brooke Winters, a high school teacher (alluding to her “HSM” roots), falling in love with Sir Cole, a 14th century squire who traveled in time. to the present day, whom she meets after hitting him with her car. No, I’m not kidding with any of this.
Emergency room medics state that Cole has amnesia after the accident, and Brooke for some reason invites Cole – a complete stranger – to stay in his spare bedroom while he recovers. Cole stays in the small town of Brooke because an old 14th-century old lady sent him there to complete an unclear quest before Christmas Eve in order to earn his knight title – hence the film’s title. And of course, the quest is finally over once Cole and Brooke kiss under the mistletoe for the first time. Vacation movie magic at its best.
Very few things are better than a love story far too good to be true, set in a small town over the holidays and paired with a good old-fashioned journey through time – and “The Knight Before Christmas” proves it exactly. I am ready to argue with anyone who dares to disagree.
Did I just recount four romantic Christmas comedies from the past four years? Yes, most definitely. I’d say Hudgens has found their new niche, and everyone who embraces commercial and modernized vacations – anytime of the year – is better off because of it.
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There’s a certain type of magic in the air during the holiday season that makes the Unbelievable more reasonable – like the ridiculously unrealistic storylines of the Hudgens Christmas movies and the fact that Santa can visit so many homes in one. night. During Christmas time everything makes sense – once you get the hang of it, it’s best not to ask any questions.