Charming review – a badly botched attempt at fixing fairytale sexism | Film



Mothers, lock up your daughters – the under 10s. Whatever you do, keep them away from this animated fairytale adventure running on 13% girl power. An addition to the Wicked- and Maleficent-inspired genre of revisionist backstories, this movie is here to explain why Prince Charming, that floppy haired stud always up for a spot of princess-rescuing and nonconsensual kissing, is so impossible for women to resist. It turns out a spell is involved. The script shoehorns in a feisty working-class heroine for a bit of feminist wokeness but otherwise maintains high standards of princessy simpering and unhealthy gender stereotypes.

If you thought Prince Charming was an irredeemably dull character, you were right. Wilmer Valderrama is the voice of preening Prince Philippe, cursed by an evil fairy to steal the heart of every woman who claps eyes on him. Only the kiss of true love will break the spell, but poor Philippe is conflicted. Which of the three fair maidens to whom he is currently engaged should he marry: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella? Or could it be that his heart truly belongs to the badass female bandit Lenore (Demi Lovato)?

Somehow singers Avril Lavigne, G.E.M. and Ashley Tisdale have been persuaded to voice the three princesses. And there’s actually a very funny scene when they discover that their prince is the same guy and share the stories of their toxic meet-cutes: “My prince found me passed out on the floor. He did what anyone else would do. He kissed me. In five seconds we were engaged.” But as characters, they’re all brainless bridezillas who swish about like beauty-pageant contestants, hands on jutting hips. Sure, they’re supposed to be under a spell, but they act like they’ve been lobotomised. Poor Cinders actually has the line: “Oooh, I like shoes.”