Starring: Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Nicholas Braun
Director: Allison Liddi
Running Time: 89 mins
Princess Protection Program is an American film about the princess of a small Latin American country who is sent to a small American town to live in hiding as her country is taken over by a neighbouring nation’s military junta, and while there, she learns of how to live like a normal person as she lives through a year of high school.
In all truth, what else do you expect from a Disney Channel Original Movie? It’s not a sort of genre that really yields the most outstanding films, and although I’m far outside the target audience for the sort of film that it is, Princess Protection Program really doesn’t offer up anything of any genuine interest or entertainment, rather sticking with a painfully generic formula complete with some of the cheesiest (and most dated) genre tropes possible, making for a dull watch from beginning to end.
However, before we get into all of the inevitable flaws and failures of the film, I will give it some credit for not being all that annoying. So many of these tweeny-bopper films are painful to watch just because they’re so childish and irritating, constantly pushing fake importance on some of the most trivial and dull matters (e.g. Mean Girls, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen etc.), however this film isn’t quite as bad.
In all truth, it’s arguably the fact that the film is so dull, pointless and generic that means it’s not all that annoying, simply because it’s not shouting at you in a shrill voice throughout. It’s not an amazing positive to touch on, given that it doesn’t capitalise and make for any sort of engrossing story, but it does make a big difference in enjoyability and bearability when compared to some of the worst the genre has to offer.
Of course, there’s nothing else to really praise about Princess Protection Program. The title tells it all, as the movie goes about in the guise of a generic and predictable high school environment. In comparison to something like Roman Holiday, which also focuses on a princess going to live life like a normal person, this film doesn’t do anything to really engage with the main characters’ inner emotions and frustrations, instead presenting the main princess as just another airhead teenager that gives you no reason to care about her story.
So, the film just goes through the motions of a typical high school movie, with a stupid social hierarchy, the odd prom, some bullying and some other rubbish, none of which really fits in with what could have been a far more interesting story about a girl discovering a new way of living. That may actually be the main intention of the story, but the character development is so easy and quick that it’s just not interesting to follow, making for a seriously dull watch from beginning to end.
Finally, what’s even stranger about this film is just how dated it feels. Although released in 2009, it still feels like it’s got its head stuck in the late 90s, still playing with all the most generic tropes of the high school movies of the era, complete with dull and cheesy pop songs that only add to that dated feel. It’s a small element of the movie, but it does really stick out like a sore thumb throughout, only making it all even more awkward
Overall, I wasn’t impressed at all by Princess Protection Program. Although it’s not painfully annoying, it’s still a dull, stupid and pointless film with no depth or intrigue to it whatsoever, making for 89 minutes of pure boredom that you really won’t get back, and that’s why I’m giving it a 5.6.