A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Independence and strength are important qualities to have. But dealing with greedy, self-centered people is part of life. Everyone needs love and friendships. Caring for others leads to happy endings. Love is more important than riches.
Positive Role Models
Lenore is brave, smart, and physically capable, but she doesn't always have good motivations for helping Prince Charming. Charming is willing to sacrifice himself for others. His father loves and cares for him. But the princesses are selfish, and villagers react violently when their partners want to date Prince Charming.
Women like Lenore are important to the plot, and a few clichéd gender roles are reversed (a woman proposes to a man, etc.). But other clichés are upheld: Princesses are mean and materialistic, the evil witch is a jealous ex, etc. Women's bodies are unrealistically tall and thin, while fatter characters are comedic. A dwarf and a partially blind character are animated to look intimidating. Though voice actor Wilmer Valderrama (Prince Charming) is of Venezuelan and Colombian descent, and Demi Lovato (Lenore) has Mexican ancestry, all main characters are light skinned and use stereotypical terms such as "Arabian princess" and "Latin beauty." Worse, the only dark-skinned characters are part of a "savage tribe of forest giants" -- a violent group in Indigenous- and African-inspired face paint, jewelry, and clothing. Lenore comments that two men kissing is ridiculous.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of fantasy violence involving swords, bows and arrows, chases, fights, pushing, and falls, but no one gets hurt. A man is kneed in the crotch. Birds are hunted for dinner. Some kissing without consent (one person is asleep). An evil witch issues curses, and villagers try to harm Prince Charming. A giant monster made of rocks fights Charming and attempts to crush him. A village of cannibals take Charming and Lenore hostage -- the village is decorated with bones. More serious scenes involve the princesses talking about their traumatized pasts and Charming putting his neck in an executioner's noose.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Animated characters flirt and kiss; some kissing is without consent (one person is asleep). Prince Charming has three fiancées who don't know about each other, and he charms other women wherever he goes. The princesses sing about wanting a "trophy boy." Momentary glimpse of a near-naked man in a painting. A married couple jokes about stealing blankets and "eating for two."
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"Stupid" and "man up."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Charming is an animated musical comedy about Prince Philippe Charming's (voiced by Wilmer Valdarrama) quest to break his village's curse. Female characters are voiced by pop stars Avril Lavigne (Snow White), Demi Lovato (Lenore), G.E.M. (Sleeping Beauty), and Ashley Tisdale (Cinderella). The fantasy violence is mostly played for fun, but some menacing characters include a rock monster, an evil witch, and a "savage tribe of forest giants." Charming also comes close to being executed. Though women are important in the story and some traditional gender roles are reversed, many female characters are portrayed as jealous or vapid. There's some flirtation and kissing (including kissing of characters who are asleep). Main voice actors are of Venezuelan, Colombian, and Mexican descent, but the few dark-skinned characters depicted are violent and "savage." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The film aims for goofy fun and works in part due to some sweet and self-effacing characterizations, but it has core issues like blurred lines of consent and gender and racial stereotypes. Sure, Charming's Prince (Wilmer Valderrama) has endearing inner monologues and an optimistic outlook that makes him blissfully unaware of his own shortcomings. But the less charming princesses are portrayed as mean, vapid, and traumatized by their pasts, and the villain is the king's jealous ex-girlfriend. When the film breaks out into song, it feels inconsistent and more like a concession to casting pop stars than a requisite of the story. The surreal musical scene in the cannibal village feels like it's from a film like Coco rather than this one. Ultimately, this attempt at a new twist on the classic fairy tale falls a little flat due to inconsistent and thoughtless choices.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.