“Prom Pact” Movie Review

Story posted April 11, 2023 in

It’s no secret that Disney Channel has somewhat fallen off the face of the Earth in recent years.

The “Descendents” franchise has pretty much wrapped up, go-to actors like Ross Lynch and Zendaya have moved on to much bigger and better things, and it seems the writers rooms no longer had the connection they once did with audiences.

“Prom Pact” might be a shining beacon of hope for the future of this type of film (even if it’s a Disney+ original and not Disney Channel) because it found a way to resonate with its viewers, just like old times.

The film stars real-life couple Milo Manheim and Peyton Elizabeth Lee as best friends Ben and Mandy, who are on the outskirts of their high school. Mandy is laser-focused on one thing that far outweighs being “popular”– getting into Harvard.

Ah yes, Disney still has its obsession with giving teens unrealistic college expectations because apparently, Ivys are the only schools of worth in the DCOM universe.

Ben on the other hand deeply desires popularity, if only to get the attention of his dream girl, Latoya Reynolds.

The friends go through a lot of push-and-pull throughout the film, which is much more relatable than other DCOMS where the “best friend” is just a quirky side character with no real personality. Both Mandy and Ben are the centers of “Prom Pact,” and it’s easy to see where they’re both coming from.

When Mandy is waitlisted from Harvard, she feels like her life is over (all too relatable), and her only hope of acceptance is a stellar letter of recommendation from someone. Her best chance is a local Senator and Harvard alum, who just so happens to be the father of the most popular guy in school, Graham Lansing ().

He’s the star basketball player who can’t keep his grades up– and lo and behold, Mandy offers to tutor him (for nothing in return, she tells him.) Yeah, he’s definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed.

The development of their relationship brought back memories of the old Disney Channel, when actors had chemistry and the storyline was endearing instead of painfully stupid.

Some of the jokes were actually funny, and conversations between characters didn’t sound like they came from middle-aged women in a writers room.

One scene that stood out was when Graham told Mandy he can’t sit still to study, so she started quizzing him on the basketball court instead of in the library. Graham then flips the situation on her, and teaches her how to shoot a free throw (while getting really close to her and adjusting her stance.)

It’s nothing new or revolutionary– the smart, focused girl slowly falling for the popular “misunderstood” jock, but it’s impossible not to love when it’s done well.

However, her budding relationship with Graham causes a strain between her and Ben. They made a pact in the beginning of the movie to attend prom together as friends, but Mandy ended up breaking it after accepting Graham’s undeniably adorable promposal.

More chaos ensues, and Mandy is left alone to deal with the consequences of her actions.

She has to swallow her pride and actually work to gain back the friendship she lost with her mistakes, and also prove to Graham her feelings for him were genuine.

It was refreshing to see a flawed lead character, since in the past Disney Channel has fallen victim to unrealistically perfect protagonists.

The ending was of course idealistic and happy, but there’s nothing wrong with that for this type of film. DCOMS are meant to be an escape from reality, and let us live out a high school experience audiences wish they had.

Hopefully, Disney+ will see the positive response to “Prom Pact” and stay on this track of films that feel like old times.

Rating: 4/5

Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email kvm6255@psu.edu