When a down-to-earth Chicago baker and a soon-to-be princess discover they look like twins, they hatch a Christmastime plan to trade places.
What’s Actually Going On In Santa’s Workshop:
Stacy is an uptight Chicago baker whose obsessive compulsive love of schedules makes the rest of us organized ladies look bad. Her strictly platonic best friend slash sous chef, Kevin, enters her into a bland international baking competition that is hosted in Belgravia, where the Crown Prince is getting married to mysterious-for-plot-reasons Duchess Margaret. During a chance run-in, the two ladies realize they look like long-lost sisters! Lady Margaret hatches a plan to switch places for two days so she can “experience Belgravia and her future people like a commoner” and Stacy can just lounge around in Margaret’s silk bathrobe eating bonbons since the Prince will be out of town. Except…we all know that he WON’T be out of town, right? And Lady Margaret doesn’t know she’s supposed to have strictly-platonic feelings for hot chef Kevin…
Naughty or Nice List:
Who can forget Vanessa’s breakout role in High School Musical? I can’t say her acting has gotten any less cheesy with time, but she distracts from it by just being amazingly gorgeous. Please share your skin routine, Vanessa! Since the only thing I’ve seen her in recently is So You Think You Can Dance as a dance judge, it was quite odd to see her pretending to be someone else (though there were times I don’t really think she was acting, so there is that).
Verdict: Naughty. Both Stacy and Margaret are falling in love with people who are off-limits, though at least Stacy was supposed to pretend to be in love with the Prince. Margaret made me mad by flirting with Kevin when it’s obvious he and Stacy never had that kind of relationship, and she made quite a mess for Stacy to step back into.
It’s really hard to look at Sam Palladio and not expect him to whip out a fake Southern accent a la Nashville. Thank GOD he doesn’t have Gunnar hair in this movie. Prince Edward is such a bland, out-of-touch royal that there’s no good reason for Stacy to fall in love with him, but, hey, they both like The Little Prince, so, uh, clearly they’re MFEO.
Verdict: Nice. Yes, Stacy does have to patiently explain why just having a ball for the local orphanage instead of actually, you know, going to visit the children is kind of gauche, but once they do meet the children, Edward gets into the giving spirit.
Nick was not familiar to me, but those of you who watch Shadowhunters may remember him. He is quite the cutie, and I was right there with Lady Margaret when she lost the ability to speak at the sight of his abs. I hope to see a LOT more of him in the future (in film; get your minds out of the gutter).
Verdict: Naughty. You don’t put abs like that on the Nice list.
Sleigh-Sharing Capability: Two Turtledoves Of A Feather
You need to watch this movie with the kind of friend or family member that a) shares your love of Christmas, b) shares your love of cheesy romances, and optional c) can give out and appreciate catty zingers about said cheesiness. I had the best of both worlds: my oma in person, who pleasantly watched in silence, and my friend over text, who had watched it the day before and was dying to discuss it with someone. Try to avoid the curmudgeons who will only tear it down with their silly logic and reason.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Who, Who Spiked The Eggnog?
You won’t be missing any intricate plot details if you get a little schlitzed during this movie so go ahead and enjoy that eggnog your cousin made. You’ll need it when you genuinely laugh out loud at Stacy attempting to get on a horse or when you get a glimpse of the laughably obvious cardboard cakes they “made” for the baking competition, or especially when you tell everyone with great authority that no Princess-to-be would ever be caught dead wearing a skirt that short while reading to children in an orphanage (and then while playing Twister in a toy store! *clutches pearls*).
Here’s my quick and dirty drinking game for this movie: take a drink every time you see Stacy’s “Chicago” baseball hat or the word “Chicago” is said. Don’t plan on driving afterwards. Include “baking” if you really don’t want to remember the night.
Did It Get Me In The Christmas Spirit?: Mostly
There are certainly other Christmas movies with more Christmas in them, but there’s enough here sprinkled in and around the switcheroo plot that it only feels slightly tacked on. I did covet Lady Margaret’s sitting room Christmas tree, because I’d like to be fancy enough to have a tree in my boudoir.