Set in a world of magic and fairy tales, My Sweet Monster follows a sixteen-year-old princess named Barbara (voiced by Haylie Duff). As a princess, you would think life would be perfect, but sadly for Barbara, life in the palace is far from wonderful. Barbara has the biggest crush on a charming prince who has been sending her letters of love. However, her father is paranoid about Barbara ever having a real life outside the palace walls, which only creates friction and frustration between the two.
To make matters worse, a sneaky plot lies right around the corner. A local mail sorter named Bundy (voiced by Pauly Shore) decides to not only deliver the mail to the palace but take a sneaky peek around the palace rooms. Bundy soon finds Barbara’s father is hiding a dark secret- a powerful object which looks like a large crystal known as The Spark. Stealing The Spark allows Bundy to bargain with Barbara’s father, and Bundy demands to marry the princess. As he threatens to damage the community, the king quickly agrees to Bundy’s demands.
When Princess Barbara hears about this decision, she runs away, hoping to find her prince who will save the day. Running into the forest, Barbara soon finds herself captured by two strangers, a talking rabbit named, well … Rabbit and a large monster named Bogey (Jon Heder). Rabbit and Bogey have the ultimate plan to return the princess to the palace, hoping to receive a large cash reward. Meanwhile, Bundy continues to scheme evilness, using The Spark to create a robot army to track down the princess. But on the journey to escort Princess Barbara back home, Rabbit, Bogey and Barbara will get to know each other more than expected.
My Sweet Monster is best described as an animation film that includes musical numbers along the way. It’s a film that focuses on magic and fairy tales and tells a love story similar to tales such as The Beauty and the Beast. The animation style here is extremely basic and generic; however, the colour of the animation feels fitting, which was positive to see. Characters in the film, such as mechanical robots or monsters, also deliver a fun style of creativity- a major highlight. However, at times, character movements and animation lags, almost as if viewers are watching a long-cut scene from a video game.
The plot feels overloaded, complex, and downright odd. While I feel this has been released for younger audiences, I fear they will be bored and perhaps confused. The ending feels insanely fluffy. Not every subplot gets a proper conclusion, and while some characters are creative, they’re not overly likeable. This includes the so-called adorable princess who is highly fickle in her relationships and trust. The relationship and friendship aspects on display are extremely rushed, and I was baffled at how quickly Barbara became close to Bogey, the large scary monster. It’s almost so rapid that I fear it could be a poor message for a younger crowd.
The film has obviously been dubbed with an English audio track as characters’ lips don’t always match up perfectly with spoken word dialogue. The voice work of some characters is bearly passable, while others sound completely unfitting. Pauly Shore, who voices the mail sorter villain, is naturally the biggest highlight in the voice talent, but again, his character is fairly wasted and silly (it’s a selfish mailman sorter, how scary and evil is that?). Jon Heder as Bogey feels wasted as the actor has attempted to put on a monstrous voice that feels almost laughable and unfitting.
Overall, as a family film with basic animation, My Sweet Monster brings a few creative moments, such as the strong use of bright colours. The creative characters such as monsters and robots are also a highlight. But other than that, this is anything but sweet and, instead, more torturous. Although this feature has been made for a younger audience, I fear they too will be uninterested or even confused with a plot that feels bloated, vague and complex with a few unmemorable musical numbers thrown in the mix. Voice work is questionable as it’s obvious this film has been dubbed, but actors such as Jon Heder are wasted here. Pauly Shore carries the most potential but to be used only to play the villain of a selfish mail sorter sounds too lazy (and I’ll say it, odd!). The love story happens quickly and rapidly, lacking any real journey or excitement, and viewing this film transformed me into a largely frustrated monster.