Prom Pact Is A Solid Addition To The Teen Romcom Genre
Disney’s Prom Pact takes another approach to the classic tale of high school seniors preparing for prom and graduation. But, rather than being an entire cliche story that hits every well-known beat in teen romantic comedies, Prom Pact makes an effort to subvert plenty of the popular stereotypes that constantly appear in these types of films.
Mandy’s desire to attend Harvard University does not come from a wish to follow in her mother’s or father’s footsteps. Instead, it comes from wanting to learn from one of the school’s professors in Mandy’s field, whom she greatly admires.
When Mandy realizes a way to get into her dream school could come from a recommendation letter from popular basketball player Graham Lansing’s father, she hatches a plan to get close to Graham.
In other films, this is where the mean head cheerleader or jealous ex-girlfriend would come into play, trying to undermine Mandy or ruin a potential romance with Graham when he shows interest in her. Luckily, this is not the case in Prom Pact.
Mandy and Graham’s budding romance is left alone by the rest of the student body without any bullying to humiliate Mandy or turn Graham against her. But, even though romance plays a role in the movie, the central dynamic in Prom Pact is between Mandy and her best friend, Ben.
Mandy and Ben’s friendship is at the heart of the movie. While each has a romantic subplot with Graham and LaToya Reynolds, respectively, their platonic dynamic indeed runs the film.
It is sad when things fall apart for Mandy and Graham, but it only happens after the more devastating argument between Ben and Mandy.
Peyton Elizabeth Lee and Milo Manheim’s portrayals of Mandy and Ben bring out Prom Pact’s charismatic energy while grounding it in allowing them to bring out the best in each other.
Prom Pact calls out the problematic aspects of 1980s romcoms while allowing them to play into the classic moments that still resonate as iconic moments. In doing so, Prom Pact decides to take a different approach to romantic moments, such as Graham asking for permission before he gets close to Mandy or Ben’s social awkwardness that has him leaving LaToya behind rather than including her in his life.
Even the end of the movie decides to subvert the stereotype that the main character’s academic wish is less than seeing there is a world outside ivy league colleges. Mandy’s educational dreams are not an obstacle to overcome to understand the excitement of the more social world.
Instead, Mandy gets to have both, thriving academically and understanding the value of expanding her social circle outside of Ben, even though their friendship remains a high priority.