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hopscotchee: dale dickey score: 40.5 rating: tv-g time: 88 minutes

okay, yeah, our age is really showing here, but, being one of the better disney channel original movies, this film is total throwback fun. likewise who doesn't want some early 2000s, young selena and demi nostalgia to take you back to the good ol' days of being a kid in 2009!! with so many iconic scenes that about every person who spent hours watching this movie over and over again remember - from the (spoiler) unforgettable fro-yo-cow-hat-slip to the bowling-arcade-strike-scene, and the two-hand-proper-hamburger-eating-teaching-sesh, every scene is just like 'uhhhhheeeeehhhh' + 'omgeeeehyesyesyes' = the perfect combo of cheese-ball cringe and admiration for the childhood heart and obsession of all things disney channel. plus, like we'd fail to mention that on top of all this, you also get to see tall ed (nicholas braun) before he was winnin' and dancin' at the globes and emmys!! like, sure, we see you nic all grown up in succession, but no one's forgetting when you were following selena around with a video camera :)

now, although, as you can tell, princess protection program was definitely a part of our childhood (the dvd just always in our grandma's car for any joyous time we wanted to watch it going somewhere), so, yes, we may keep this one closer to our heart than others, we want to begin by disclosing that this did not block our judgement when reviewing. for one, it did not go over our heads that everything about this movie's quality was pretty much minimal and basic. hitting the typical and unfortunately pitiful channel movie norms like inconsistent jump cuts, weak dialogue, cliche character arcs, baseline subplots, and way too convent and totally unrealistic standards for high schoolers, this movie clearly wasn't aiming to be a well-put-together stand-alone piece or a film with intentions of depicting true, raw realism for possible academy acclaim or the attention of an astute audience. in fewer words, it is a kids' movie. to this point, separate from the offensive film choices that those behind this movie allowed to pass, because they likely lowered the bar due to the show's targeted audience (*cough, cough - still no accuse*), the bright, upbeat spirit of this film tremendously holds up, living up to every childhood smile that this disney classic acquired!!

in the light of calling things out, this movie is also a very bittersweet watch knowing how much hardship both demi lovato and selena gomez have faced. while you gotta love seeing your childhood idols represent everything you love about your sentimental youth (alongside hearing their mega-bopper one in the same that you also remember all the lyrics to), it's awful to think past the screen of the monsters beneath the curtain that was the reality of the disney machine. (this machine that legit casted an old a** adult as selena gomez's love interest. truly wtf!! donny was so old!! hashtag britney - EW!! to put in perspective, selena was 16 at the time and robert adamson (donny) was friggin' 23. where's the puke bucket?!)

all this said, though there are evident mishaps and issues with princess protection program, as we said in the intro of this review, this was one of the better disney channel original movies, and there is still a bunch to love about it. firstly, there's nothing more early 2000s than its fashion and the looks throughout are 100%!! in the era of hannah montana's endless wardrobe that every child dreamed of having, the iconic landmark of accessory-galore that was the cheetah girls and high school musical's queen diva, sharpay evans was the ultimate necessity and center-stage of all outfits of the time - needless to say, the costume crew here didn't miss the mark. even, again, gross, punk donny and his baggy, box tees - though not fashion-forward at all - were still very on brand for the look at the time. and sidenote: we all know they were like 'selena's color is teal' - hashtag dibs. (all around props to the costume crew!!)

quickly, another dash of dazzle came from the fierce boss demi lovato herself. (spoiler) her tears, although they weren't full on sobs, were very emotional for disney channel actresses. rarely in their movies did tears spill, so allowing this made the movie, climax, and demi's performance even more powerful and impactful!!

finally, ending beautifully with (spoiler) an empowering team-up of two opposites, princess protection program remains in the hearts of many and supplies an overwhelming amount of nostalgic dopamine hits. while never ignoring or becoming naive to the blunt concerns of this film, viewers can sit down and certainly be aware on how some of the story's plots and morals are stuck in the past and, simultaneously, enjoy all the ra-ra flare and fun of the '09s. and who wouldn't want to spend 88 minutes of their day surrounding themselves with the amusing and endearing friendship of carter and rosie. . . .and ed!! yep, let's never forget tall ed!! honestly, can we all be friends with that group - like, selena, demi, and nicholas, can we all be friends with you?! so, sorry for the uber cheesy disney-fied trailer below, but we promise you that this movie is way worth tolerating it!!

(and p.s. not that you needed to be further swayed into watching this movie by now, but FUNFACT: according to his answer in a super sweet 2019 seventeen magazine interview, this is asher angel's favorite disney channel original movie)

-- thanks, dale xo

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