Prom Pact review: Adorable romcom avoids trite, embraces clichés

Prom Pact follows goal-oriented Mandy Yang as she tries to befriend the popular guy in order to get into her dream college.

Story

High schooler Mandy Yang doesn’t fit in with the normie crowd, nor does she want to. While others are occupied with ambushing their crushes with promposals, Yang hangs out with her best friend Ben Plunkett, who has been wanting to enjoy some of the regular high school life that he believes is passing him by.

He gets to do that when Mandy Yang’s plan to get a letter of recommendation written by Senator Lansing involves them crashing a party and interacting with the ordinary crowd. While Mandy befriends Senator Lansing’s son, the most popular guy, and basketball team captain Graham, Ben stumbles his way through his crush, also popular student LaToya Reynolds.

Mandy’s plan to use Graham to get in with his father works and she tutors him well, while also beginning to genuinely fall for him. When the time arrives, she opts for defending Graham in front of his father than use his help for her college. However, she’s shortly heartbroken after falling victim to a misunderstanding about Graham.

Meanwhile, consoling and supporting Mandy comes at a cost for Ben, who sabotages his own romantic arc with LaToya. Till the end, he is loyal to his prom pact with Mandy, even if it diminishes his chances with LaToya, but Mandy manages to fail that, and as a consequence, she loses her best friend and also her boyfriend who had just cleared her misunderstanding and asked her for prom.

She decides to mend the broken ties and upon graduation, acknowledges Graham’s role and his qualities, before making up with Ben and helping him with LaToya’s heart back. Ben and LaToya kiss and begin dating, and Mandy hugs her best friends bye, before departing to Boston as she gets accepted into Harvard.

Prom Pact ends with Mandy stumbling into Graham again, and the two reignite their chemistry instantly and kiss their way into their happy-ever-after.

Performances

Peyton Elizabeth Lee brings a lot of energy to Mandy Yang. Her performance is rife with honesty and sincerity, which she renders with a great deal of competence.

Opposite her is a thoroughly charming performance by Milo Manheim, who’s built like a jock and would be perfect in a Graham-like role as well, and yet he’s so believable as the adorkable “No-Nuts-Plunkett.”

Blake Draper gives a balanced performance and his initial jock-like persona’s transformation into a three-dimensional, kind, passionate, and loving character is seamless and very believable.

Monique isn’t given enough material but she makes the most of what she has, delivering a delightful performance as the incredibly sweet and patient LaToya.

Another performance of note is that of Margaret Cho as Ms. Chen, who doesn’t have enough screen time but steals the show in almost every scene she appears in.

Positives

Prom Pact is subversive in a manner that’s refreshing to see in romcoms, as the elements for the story being trite are all there, and the writers, fully aware of that, opt for a different route for its characters that deviates from the norm.

Even if this subversion is still a part of a movie filled with romcom clichés, they don’t hurt the movie or detract from it in any meaningful way.

The healthy platonic bond that Mandy and Ben share is refreshing to see, and despite there not being a romantic fervor to their relationship, they have just as good a chemistry as any other central couple in a rom-com.

Negatives

While it moves away from the usual route of romcoms, Prom Pact still clings on to many outdated ideas and approaches, especially when it comes to the portrayal of Gen Z students, which couldn’t have been goofier and cringe at times.

Verdict

Prom Pact is a cute comfort watch that exceeds expectations, using the cliché-filled infrastructure of romcoms to build a subversive, refreshing, and modern story of teen romance that also concerns the value of friendship, upholding ethics in the face of desire, and striving for goals with a healthier approach.

Prom Pact
Prom Pact review: Adorable romcom avoids trite, embraces clichés 1

Director: Anya Adams

Date Created: 2023-03-31 12:30

Editor's Rating:
3.5

Also Read: Prom Pact ending explained: Do Mandy & Graham end up together?

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