In Sneakerella, put-upon New York shop assistant El, dreams of one day becoming a top shoe designer. He thinks about shoes during every moment of his life, has the ability to come up with unique designs, and considers himself to be a ‘sneaker psychic’ – someone who can tell a lot about a person from their footwear.
One day, El abandons his work at the family shoe store to go wait in line for a hot new pair of sneakers. Here he meets Kira, a friendly girl who is kind to him, and the pair share instant chemistry.
After hitting it off, El and Kira soon spend the day together, exploring parts of the city, while getting to know each other better. But at the end of the day, El and Kira are forced to go their separate ways, with El returning to his duties at the store and Kira heading back to her life as the daughter of a sneaker tycoon.
Although they both failed to get each other’s contact details, El soon learns of Kira’s status in the shoe world. Working with his best friend, Sami, El plans to design some new sneakers to showcase at a special gala, that will wow the fashion world and potentially catch Kira’s eye.
But El’s plans are put in jeopardy by his step brothers, who try and scupper his chances of getting to the gala. That is until a friendly neighbour steps in to offer El some assistance, to ensure he makes it to the event on time, and take some important steps toward making his dreams become a reality.
Directed by Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum, Sneakerella is a musical drama loosely based around the story of Cinderella. The movie stars Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood, Devyn Nekoda, and John Salley, and is available to stream on Disney+ from today.
Although it treads a well-worn path, being yet another reworking of the classic fairy tale, Sneakerella has a fresh attitude, a good vibe, and a modern aesthetic. It finds a way to repackage the Cinderella story for a new generation, to appeal to those who are largely invested in the likes of YouTube and TikTok, and for the most part is enjoyable stuff for the right audience.
The right audience, in my humble opinion, is likely to be teenagers. This is a film which has its eye on a younger demographic, and I expect those that fall within its target range will find it to be somewhat appealing.
Sneakerella boasts two likeable leads in Chosen Jacobs and Lexi Underwood, the soundtrack and musical numbers are a good fit for the tone of the film, and the costuming and setting are pretty cool and contemporary. So, yeah, this film works for teens.
Adult audiences are likely to be less interested in the film, and I must admit it didn’t do a great deal for me personally, but I do think this is largely an age thing. I have seen this story play out countless times before, and while I can appreciate the efforts to give it a new look, it just never quite connected with me.
The film could have also benefited from a bigger budget, to push it a little further in places. It has a direct-to-streaming/Disney Channel feel throughout, but with a bit more investment it could have been elevated to something more.
The picture also suffers from a touch of wooden acting in places, and a few pacing issues. But I’m going to cut the criticisms off here, because I’ve said this film isn’t for everyone (myself included), but it will work for some, so it’s not without merit.
If you’ve got youngsters in your household, and they are interested in checking out this movie, then let them do so. There’s nothing in the film that will cause offense, and they will find themselves with a couple of hours of entertainment on their hands.
As for everyone else, the film is fine, but not as special as I believe it could be. It has potential, just not enough magic to make it stand out beyond its intended demographic.