Disney’s ‘Prom Pact’ Shows Us We’re Not Too Old for DCOMs


If you were like me when you were a kid, then you can probably relate to that feeling of excitement when you’d turn on Disney Channel and see commercials for the newest DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) that was going to air in a few weeks. You’d make sure that you were free that night of the premiere, and then when that day came, you’d sit down on the couch with your siblings or parents for the next 1.5-2 hours, entranced by the magic on the screen. Days after, you’d be raving about the movie with your fellow peers, asking if they saw the part where the girl found out it was the guy all along, or if they thought that musical number in the gym was cool too.

However, as we got older, the thrill of DCOMs didn’t quite have the same effect as it used to. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still turn on the TV to catch Zombies or even Descendants 3 to see what good ol’ Disney Channel was up to these days, but the movies never seemed as good as they were before. Maybe it’s because we’re older and we’ve outgrown the youthful nature of these films, or maybe it’s because the movies of the old are genuinely better than the ones of the new. Honestly, I think it’s a mix of both (sorry Sharpay, sometimes it’s not “out with the old and in with the new”). The DCOMs today just don’t seem to have that same Disney magic as they did before.

But maybe that’s the problem; what if, instead of striving to recreate that nostalgic Disney magic, Disney tried to change up their game entirely?

Enter Prom Pact.

In this coming-of-age movie, which aired on March 30th on Disney Channel and March 31st on Disney+, high school senior Mandy Yang (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) has her sights set on getting into Harvard and could care less about enjoying the “high school experience” like parties or prom. However, after getting deferred from her dream school, she hatches a plan to befriend the most popular boy in school, Graham Lansing (Blake Draper), whose father is a well-known senator and Harvard alum. Along for the ride is Mandy’s best friend, Ben Plunkett (Milo Manheim), who hopes to gain more out of the high school experience than Mandy would care for. Through laughter and heartache, this DCOM takes viewers on a roller coaster of emotions, something not all Disney Channel movies are able to do. And so, with that being said, I’m here to lay out my thoughts on ‘Prom Pact’ and give an overall review of the film.

***Warning: This review contains spoilers for Prom Pact.

There’s one thing I would like to note as I begin this review, and it’s that there are actually two versions of Prom Pact: one on Disney Channel and one on Disney+. The Disney Channel version is PG and does without a few “inappropriate” remarks and scenes, while the Disney+ version is TV-14 and leaves those parts in. Thus, you can probably see how this could cause parents of younger children to not recommend the movie, especially if they decided to watch it on Disney+. If you look at parent reviews from Common Sense Media, you’ll find that they’re actually pretty brutal, claiming that the movie is way too inappropriate, pushes a lot of political views onto children, and should be meant for viewers 17 and up. However, I would disagree with those statements. Yes, the film focuses heavily on feminism, sexism, and self-representation, and I’ll even admit that the main character, Mandy, lays those values on a little too thick at the start. But what some adults view as a heavy hand on virtue signaling, I’d view as a shift towards modernism. LGBTQ+, politics, feminism, etc. are all topics circulating in our world today, so if anything, the inclusion of these discussions reflects the change in society from our traditional ways. It is understandable how parents may not want to expose their children to those subjects early on in life. Still, given the world we live in, it’s unlikely that children aren’t going to encounter these subjects elsewhere in a more biased light.

Moreover, Prom Pact definitely seems like a different angle for Disney. When I first saw the trailer, it seemed more like a Netflix movie than a DCOM. In a Disney movie, I probably would have expected the best friends to end up with each other, but viewers were luckily spared from that cliché. The music selection was also pretty current, and the storyline was fairly clear despite there being a decent number of major characters. The 80’s references were an interesting twist as well, as mockeries of 80’s movies with stereotypical plots could be found, with Mandy’s complaints of females being represented as damsels in distress or surface characters who only fall for boys. Speaking of Mandy, I would also add that Peyton Elizabeth Lee, and Milo Manheim both performed their parts well, to the point where you could really resonate with their friendship. And as a whole, many of the actors in the film successfully executed their roles which is a pretty good feat given that it’s Disney Channel.

Now, I’m not saying this movie is perfect; it was definitely exaggerated at times and the time jumps were a little clunky. However, Prom Pact is more realistic than the DCOMs you’d find in the past. It is by no means High School Musical or Camp Rock, but it’s undoubtedly a feel-good teen movie with elements of Disney. All the characters get what they want and it’s a happy ending; I wouldn’t expect anything less. But as someone who’s been watching DCOMs ever since they were young, I can confidently say that Prom Pact offers a fresh perspective for Disney Channel. While it may not be all song and dance or as easygoing as the movies in the past, it’s satisfying to see Disney branching out and not trying to please all their viewers. I’m surprised that I found myself moved by a film I initially thought was for a younger age group, and I’m also excited to see what’s next for our beloved DCOMs.

So, if you’re looking for an enjoyable movie to watch, I would absolutely recommend checking out Prom Pact on Disney+. Who says we’re too old to be watching DCOMs anyway?