Basically: A Cinderella story about the newest young King from Queens.
One of the fastest ways to win me for your team is to tell a good fairytale. Fractured, fantastic, or flippant—if the characters pull me in, the story takes me places, and the music is sticky—you’ve got me. Extra tokens will be awarded if the protagonists love the arts.
The above reasons are why I enjoyed Sneakerella, the latest ’Rella retelling from Disney+. It starts with a boy named El (Chosen Jacobs) who works in a shoe store that was once owned by his mother and lives above the shop with his stepfather (Bryan Terrell Clark) and his all-ass-all-the-time stepbros (Hayward Leach, Kolton Stewart). The story sparks when El sneaks out of work with his best friend Sami (Devyn Nekoda) for an Adidas drop, but the line is extra-long and the supply is extra-low. Therefore they have no choice but to skip ahead. Luckily they get help from a girl in a baseball cap who is wearing a pair of unreleased King6 kicks. Her name is Kira King (Lexi Underwood). This occurrence is significant because King6 is the sneaker empire headed by Basketball All-Star Darius King, played by actual Basketball All-Star John Salley. It’s also significant because it’s an “oh, hello love interest” moment.
That, friends, is what we call symmetry.
Rather than a glass slipper from a fairy godmother, El has a fairy godfather named Gustavo (Juan Chioran) who is a gardener. Which is why our not-quite-a-prince has to design his own kicks. And he does it with the style of a street artist and the love of a Hatfield (if you know, you know). Although I must admit, the sneaker designs are overly artsy yet they do have heart. Thus our fairytale has begun. The usual obstacles of class barriers and mistaken identity apply but there are also b-plots dealing with lies, fatherhood, friendship, and disillusionment that give this retelling its own sauce.
Oh, and the music is filled with retro 90s goodness. Not every song works but most of them will make you smile, while the middle schoolers in the house dance around the room. My personal favorites are “Best Ever”, in both its original and the reprisal forms, and the sneering wickedness of “Shut It Down” sung by the evil bros. “Life is What You Make It” works nicely too.
The songs are instantly sing-along-able, the story is candy-coated and, beyond your typical prince, the entire cast is “Charming.”
In the End: If you’re going to watch another ’Rella retelling you might as well let this give you a fresh set of smiles.