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STUDIO:  Disney
MSRP:  $29.99
RATED:  Unrated
RUNNING TIME:  89 Minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
Royal & Loyal BFFs
A Royal Reality
“One and the Same” Music Video


The Pitch

“It‘s Smokin‘ Aces meets Enchanted!”  Not really, it’s nothing like Enchanted – nobody sings at all.

The Humans

Director:  Alison Liddi-Brown
Starring:  Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Tom Verica

The Nutshell

Lovato plays Princess Rosalinda; heiress to the throne of fictional country Costa Luna.  When some douchebag tries to overthrow the kingdom and usurp the throne, Maj. Mason from The Princess Protection Program swoops in to rescue her and temporarily relocate her to his home in Louisiana.  While she’s there she meets his daughter Carter (Gomez) and the rest of the movie is spent adjusting and learning lessons and eventually becoming BFFs.

The Lowdown

I dig what Disney’s been doing with their Princess movies lately.  Enchanted was flawed but adorable and the concept was clever (even if it wasn’t COMPLETELY original).  I’m curious to see how The Princess & the Frog is gonna work, being set in New Orleans and all, but it looks good and it’s apparent that they’re pushing the boundaries of their flagship genre to promising effect.  But when Disney Channel, which I guess is kinda like the red-haired stepchild of the parent company, wants to get in on the game, the results aren’t QUITE as good.


He feels pretty…


Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate EVERYTHING on Disney Channel (I like Sonny With a Chance and, God save me, that Jonas show makes me laugh pretty regularly), but rarely does anything with that label carry the same amount of quality and workmanship that (usually) comes out of the Mouse House’s Feature Department.  So it should really come as no surprise that Princess Protection Program is just a forgettable also-ran on an already crowded radar.

The basic plot, as I mentioned earlier, is pretty standard, formulaic stuff, but it’s layered in a somewhat clever way.  The whole protection program/relocation angle was a unique little spin (even if it was handled a little clumsily) and I can really appreciate that for the most part, Princess Rosalinda (Lovato) wasn’t your standard “fairy tale” princess.  It wasn’t all pink satin and cute woodland animals and True Love’s Kiss.  In fact, it pretty much goes out of its way to make Princess Rosie the antithesis of that, making national pride and political responsibility the main focus of her royalty and position.  They definitely got that right, but that’s about all they got right, at least thematically.  Everything else was clichéd high school dramedy, stereotypical mean girls, fish out of water tropes (tee hee Rosie doesn’t know what a hamburger is!) and the standard “We’re so different but we’re gonna butt heads and learn to adapt to one another!” beats.


…and she’s totally gonna stab him for it.


The performances pretty much follow suit – everybody hits the same marks and the same notes that everyone else who ever played these roles before them did.  The only saving grace here are our leads – well, one of them.  Selena Gomez has a LOT of natural charisma and her personality is pretty charming.  I don’t enjoy her at all in her show Wizards of Waverly Place, mainly because she’s written as SUCH an insipidly stupid, spoiled, little bitchy kid, but here she’s evened out a lot and it’s easy to like her.  I wish I could say the same for Lovato who is just as energetic and charming as Gomez, but because she’s saddled with the princess role she has to maintain this stiff formality that she just doesn’t pull off too well.  She’s a lot better when she can just sort of loosen up and be fun (again, see Sonny With A Chance).  That’s not to say that she doesn’t have her moments, but I kinda feel like she was stifled for most of the running time.

At the end of the day this just really isn’t a good movie.  It has more than a few redeeming qualities and it wouldn’t be fair to just blindly dismiss it because of its DCOM status, but it’s nothing special and there are plenty of other Disney Princess movies that are far more deserving of your time, money and DVD shelf space.


Mrs. Linderman swore she’d strangle the “next little brat who asked for one of those damn Twilight books.”  Questions is – did she have the nerve to do it?


The Package

The artwork’s decent, with Carter and Princess Rosalinda front and center.  I don’t necessarily like the pose that they’re in but the color palette is nice and the layout works.  Oh, and I suppose I should make mention of the fact that this is the “Royal B.F.F. Extended Edition,” which basically means there are a couple of minutes added to the movie that weren’t shown on TV.

For bonus features, there’s a little BTS thing with Gomez and Lovato (who, as it happens, are best friends in real life and have been since before either of them got famous) and it’s basically 20 or so minutes of OMGs and LOLs and everything’s “awesome.”  It almost makes me tired, but I watch it with a wary eye and know that I’m gonna have to deal with the same thing in roughly 5 years.

There’s also a little doc/interview/Featurette thing with an actual Princess who helps shoot down the whole “princess stereotype.”  It’s a fine enough idea and it compliments the Rosalinda character in the movie quite nicely.

Rounding it out is the music video for the movie’s main theme song, “One In The Same,” performed by, of course, Gomez and Lovato.  It’s a catchy song and the video is fun.  It IS standard pop fluff but it’s miles and miles and miles better than anything ever recorded by Miley Cyrus (and as an aside – Demi Lovato’s debut CD “Don’t Forget” is actually a solid piece of modern pop music.  It definitely has its tweener roots and it pales in comparison to a lot of its contemporaries, but there are more than a few really solid, really fun songs on there).


Hey it’s that lady that’s not Nancy Travis.  She’s like a female “That Guy.”  I would say “That Girl” but then we’d have Marlo Thomas running around being all spunky and shit – and nobody needs that.


OVERALL 6 out of 10