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Wayback Wednesday: The Proud Family Movie (2005)

EVERY movie should be required to feature a dance-off. Period.

As a child growing up in the early 2000s, you can bet your bottom that I lived and breathed for the plethora of amazing animated shows the Disney Channel had to offer. I loved everything from Kim Possible (2002 – 2007), to The Weekenders (2000 – 2004), to Dave the Barbarian (2004 – 2005). One show that I particularly enjoyed was The Proud Family (2001 – 2005). I mean hello, the theme song is sung by Solange and Destiny’s Child! We have no choice to stan. As much as I loved it though I must ashamedly admit that I never saw the Disney Channel Original Movie based on the beloved show. Well. Since today is the release of the revival, The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder (2022), it seemed obvious to me that it was time to finally see The Proud Family Movie (2005). While my deep admiration for the original series endures, I’m sad to report that I did not LOVE this feature-length adaptation. I really wanted to! But unfortunately I just appreciated this movie rather than be enamoured with it. 

Credit: / Buena Vista Television

Based on the series of the same name, The Proud Family Movie follows Penny Proud and her eccentric family as they travel to a mysterious tropical island after receiving a seemingly innocent invitation. After they arrive it is revealed that their stay is solely so that the diabolical Dr. Carver can use Oscar’s new snack recipe for his own nefarious plot. It then falls to Penny and her friends and family to save the day from the mad scientist. 

I wholeheartedly believe that Disney missed the opportunity to treat The Proud Family Movie as the cinematic event it deserved to be treated as. Yes, I’m aware it’s made-for-TV, but look at Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama (2005). That was another DCOM and yet the production and storytelling really made it feel like it would have been right at home up on the big screen. Sure, The Proud Family is a lot zanier than Kim Possible (and that’s really saying something) but that doesn’t change the fact that the same care and attention could have been devoted to the feature adaptation of this equally believed and iconic show. For example, I was shocked that the animation style was exactly the same as the show. It doesn’t look like The Proud Family Movie was thrown any extra cash to make it look sleeker or set it apart from the show. Than again, this was in the days before many Disney Channel shows had been adapted into movies so maybe my expectations were just too high. But this served as the series finale for the show! I think Disney should have given them a decent budget so that The Proud Family could go out with the bang that this excellent show deserved.

And while we’re talking about what The Proud Family deserved, can we take a minute to acknowledge the bizarreness of this movie’s plot? I have no idea what I personally would have come up with when it came to writing a The Proud Family movie, but I don’t think this would have been it. The show was known for switching off between stories based on real life issues and fantastical events. Remember when Penny’s credit card convinced her to go on a shopping spree? I loved that episode! So I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that the plot of the movie revolves around an evil peanut man (yes, an actual anthropomorphic peanut creature) wanting to take over the world with his nut based minions. Granted, it’s been years since I’ve seen an episode of the show but this seems sillier than anything the show ever did. And this is a show that once had Al Roker as Penny’s personal genie. It’s bananas but it’s also weirdly on brand for The Proud Family. Again, not exactly what I would have done or what I was expecting, but it makes sense in its own unique way. 

Even before I watched The Proud Family Movie I could tell that an hour and a half was far too long a runtime. It took the movie a solid 20 minutes into this misguided runtime before the plot line of the scam vacation even got introduced! I guess the movie needed to lay the groundwork for the riff between Penny and Oscar but the route it took to get there was so convoluted and bloated that it took away some of the movie’s enjoyment for me. It definitely could have either been made much more concise or severely edited down. A solid 10-15 minutes easily could have been cut out. I know this isn’t exactly what people want out of a cartoon, but I think I could have used more focus on the relationship between Penny and Oscar and less vignettes of seemingly random comedy bits.

I sincerely wished that I had liked The Proud Family Movie more than I did. I wished that I enjoyed it as least as much as I remember adoring the show or as much as the other DCOMs that I still rewatch to this day. I promise you, the High School Musical (2006) review has been on my mind for the last three years. It’s coming. That being said though, I am still 100 per cent on board for and eagerly looking forward to watching the revival series. I’m really hopeful and excited about it! Let me just say this now: The only way I will not be watching this new series is if there isn’t a new remix of Bobby Proud’s ICONIC bop, “So Dysfunctional.” Tribute to that anthem must be paid!

Are you a fan of The Proud Family?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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