Anyone who claims Martin Short lacks humor clearly hasn’t witnessed his extraordinary portrayal of Preminger in the animated film “Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper.” While the movie may not initially strike one as a top-tier family film (and to be frank, it isn’t), Short’s performance transcends expectations, delivering a tour de force.
Despite the dated 3D animation of this 2004 production, Short’s voice acting as the antagonist remains impeccable. He fully inhabited the role, leaving no room for improvement. He committed himself entirely, even when faced with financial constraints and a single chance to make cinematic history. In the character of Preminger, he succeeded admirably.
Within this Barbie-inspired adaptation of “The Prince and the Pauper,” Eliza, a gifted seamstress with a penchant for singing, is persuaded to switch identities with Princess Anneliese after the latter is abducted by Preminger, who aims to feign her demise and seize the throne. While the striking resemblance between Eliza and Anneliese is central to the narrative, it is Short’s portrayal of Preminger that steals the show.
Notably, his rendition of the song ‘How Can I Refuse’ is a showstopper, and his exuberant and exaggerated performance style ensures that every scene featuring him becomes indelible.
Predictably, the exuberant flair he brings to this 2000s-era film hasn’t gone unnoticed. Thanks to TikTok, a newfound admiration for the character has emerged. Devotees of Preminger have utilized his scenes as fodder for memes, fancams, and other creative remixes, resulting in the #preminger TikTok tag amassing over 318 million views and counting on the platform.