Hello, Spongey here. Welcome back to DCOM-cember!
Next up, I jump ahead to something more recent. This is a 2011 DCOM that came and went, and exists.
It’s not too notable as few remember it and it’s just another DCOM they made to get two (or maybe three) Disney channel stars to say they made a movie.
But it’s still a movie, and I sat down to watch it as it sounded interesting, But is it as lame as Let it Shine, or as passable as Dadnapped? Let’s find out.
This, is Frenemies
First off, it’s not too notable from the director/writer standpoint. The director has done nothing of interest, and we have 3 writers.
See, Instead of one normal story, it’s THREE stories based around one theme: Friends fighting. Each story had two writers, but the main one was Dava Savel who has done mostly Disney sitcom stuff. Story 1 is all her, while 2 and 3 are her and some other person. The other for Story 2 is some chick who has nothing else.
But Story 3’s other writer is Jim Kreig, who currently writers for The Hub’s Spooksville. So that alone seems pretty promising.
I will be reviewing each story on it’s own, then at the end I will say how the film works as a whole.
The film starts with a chick telling us about her and her friend while using her soon to be dated in a few years ipad to show us her website and stuff. She then launches into the first story as it has to do with her own issues.
Jake Logan is a normal start kid whose best friend…is his dog Murray. He does everything with his butt, proving dog is man/s best friend. But one day Lexi, I mean Juliane the alpha bitch pretends to be hot for him in order to make him do her science project for her.
The dog knows she’s using him to get what she wants, but Jake is too into her to notice he is worried. He even gets distant from the dog to the point where he shuns him when he does something really bad due to something Lexi did.
Will he patch up his friendship with the dog, or will something unpredictable happen?
I doubt the latter cuz this was fairly….cliche. I know, i’m honestly shocked. When the story starts ,we see him do stuff with the dog I haven’t seen in a boy/dog story. So I thought this would be fun and fresh.
It is not, It’s a cliché I’ve seen before. The main guy is friends with a dude, until something happens to make the main get big headed. He shuns the other friend when he actually acts smart and tells him he is being used.
The main guy gets angry, they go in their corners, then he finds out that person was using him and they make up.
Only it’s with a dog, and they tweak a few things. For one, the dog doesn’t give many signs that she is using him, just that he doesn’t like her. And the event that makes him hate the dog makes some level of sense, even though the dog was shown to be smart.
But this story was just okay, on a critical level. It’s just a been done story, and the charm it has saves it from being even below average. Like I said, it’s biggest problem is that it’s simply cliché.
It’s no more cliché than say Let it Shine which is obviously worse. But somehow this bugged me a bit more at times cuz it’s a cliché I personally don’t like more than I dislike the cliches in LIS.
But at the same time, it’s not AS contrived or poorly written as that film. It’s tolerable at best. Mediocre at worst. It hits all the beats you would expect, with only a few deviations.
But what makes this one even weaker is that it’s a classic case of an idiot plot. You know, when the characters randomly drop several IQ points just to get the plot rolling. Normally, I’d be okay with this.
But Jake is set up to be very smart. An alpha bitch has to divisive a whole plan just to get him to do his project, after all. Also, he has national prize certificate in molecular astrophysics from NASA. That’s incredibly plausible, but he shows he is smart.
Yet, when this Alpha bitch shows up with her plan, he goes with it thinking she’s for real. And when his best friend shows discomfort, he doesn’t notice. On top of that, he’s okay with this chick clearly showing hatred for his best friend.
It isn’t until near the end when he grows a brain cell. But that’s after he yells at his dog for chewing up the NASA thing. Which happens cuz we find out he chews up the junk mail that shows up through the mail slot, AND Juliane tried sending a “love letter” with her perfume on it that way so of course he ended up chewing it cuz he hates her.
So she put her perume on the NASA tihng and put in the mail slot, so the dog chewed it up. Yeah, this is the reason Jake ultimaely yells at him, and I admit, it isn’t too bad and it even shows this Alpha bitch is smart.
Maybe too scheme-y though. It’s one dog lady. You can survive it long enough to finish oyu dang project. Also, I don’t expect a dog to read but seeing as he is shown to be smart and he knows Jake’s NASA thing, he should be able to tell it’s not a love better or anything.
See what I mean by idiot plot? I know wha you they were going for. Jake has the hots for Lexi, and he of course was going to focus more on impressing her to know that the dog dislikes her. It works slightly better than I say, but I get what they were trying to do.
But at the same time, there are many points where Jake should have known she hates the dog and that she is not what she seems. Hell, we find out she has at least two other “boyfriends” that had do some work for her.
Which makes no sense, cuz there’s no way even of them could keep quiet about having a girlfriend. We see that Jake’s friends find out quickly and word spread. So if all three had her, why didn’t any of them talk about her and thus raise questions?
It takes another cliché character named Savanah to figure it out. Oh yeah, I forgot about her. While at the park, Julianne is being bugged by Murray so she throws a tennis ball really far out of their way, which somehow took a bad effect to do.
Murray runs off and for whatever reason, Jake doesn’t think to go check on his best friend.. Again I get it but this is too much. Well anyway, Murray bumps into a skater chick who is sort of like Jake and Murray takes a liking to her.
As soon as this happened, I figured that once Murray eventually runs away, it will be too her. Then she will have to break it to Jake that he’s being a dick.
Spoilers, I was right. She’s not the worst, but she’s obviously there to be a tacked on love interest. I’ve seen worse though but it adds to the cliche-ness of this story.
But at the same time, the dog himself is charming and seeing things work out in the end is sweet if cliché. It wasn’t painful, I just found myself predicting the plot and questioning Jake’s intelligence.
The acting is okay for the most part. Nothing to report, except for two things. One, Jake is mostly fine except for one part. When he yells at Murray. I can’t qoute it from memory, but the he yells “YOU’RE THE WORST DOG EVER, I HATE YOU” is so stilted.
I actually shouted “I’M ACTING’ right there.
But there’s the other notable actor. And guess what? This one saves the entire story: Steaphnie Scott. She is Lexi on A.N.T. Farm as I’ve pointed out, and she;s Julianne here.
And my god, she steals the show. She’s essentially playing Lexi, only here she’s smarter and less over the top. But she’s no less awesome. Even at the story’s dumbest parts, she makes her role so much fun to watch.
She acts so bitch-y yet it’s also fun to see her pretend to be “love-y” at Jake. You can tell she’s faking but she’s trying so hard to fake it that’s very enjoyable. She’s not as insanely over the top as say, Sharpay but she still has plenty of fun as this character.
She pretty much helps make the story enjoyable during some cliché parts. She raises the energy level and makes it fun.
Also, she’s hot.
But overall, this story is just okay. It’s still a guilty pleasure thing, as I had fun with Lexi and other small bits. I could stomach it okay and I had fun with it. But at the same time, it’s not that well written with a plot that is too cliché for it’s own good.
I must stress how not bad it is, as there are two people on TV tropes would have bashed this movie enough. I could tolerate it and if I turn my brain off, I can appreciate some of the effort.
But this first story is still cliché, and the characters didn’t grab me. Except for Juliane, who is still awesome. It’s not the worst story to start with but it’s also not the best way to get us sold on the full movie.
But it’s only the first story, so I’ll cut it some slack. I won’t grade it until the end where I will grade the film as a whole.
Overall, this story is fun but critically , it’s cliché and messy.
Rocky and Cece, I mean Hallie and Avalon have a popular webazine called Geekly Chic. Thet get a call from their favorite New York City publishing company, Burns Publications, run by the stunning Cherie St. Clair.
They meet up with her, and during the talk, Cherie St. Claire tells Avalon and Halley that she likes their web magazine and offers to buy it, but decides to only let one of them be the senior editor, because she believes that the quality of the writing will be better. Cherie St. Claire decides to let each of them write a cover article and will judge who wrote the best article as that writer will become the senior editor.
And so the two girls decide to interview french singer Jean after his first American sold-out concert which leads them to become frenemies. Will they settle their differences and all that?
This story was most certainly a huge improvement over the first. Granted, it’s still cliché and even a tad rushed at the end, but it’s still fine. What makes it good?
The sheer chemistry between Hallie and Avalon. They are playing their characters the same way they did in Shake it up, but they pull it off even better here. Hallie is the shy one with the hipster glasses, while Avalon is the more fashionable one and slightly dumber and stuff.
Just some of the funny lines they have saves this story, but the actors chemistry makes it even better. I’m not gonna pretend they are amazing actors, but they do very well in this movie.
It’s hard to describe them they get some actually funny moments and prove to be believable friends. Sometimes the funny moments are typical but sold with the performances or actually funny.
There was just something very entertaining about these friends. They are cliché best friends, but they they interact within the scene makes it feel a tad interesting. I feel both these actors are quite fine in their main show, and the shine even more here without the “sitcom baggage” as I like to call it.
And that extends to mostly everyone else. There is this cliché jerk named Walker who exists to mock the girls at every turn and be uptight, snooty and richer. He has no reason to be here, and he is quite cliché though he does have a good moment at the end.
But Conner Price sells it by making him charming and almost self aware of his cliiche. Also, his actor has been on the haunting hour twice, which is a very quick way to my heart.
The same goes for St Claire, the bitch-y head of that company who forces them to compete even though they are ready to do together. She’s also cliché but she only has two scenes, so it’s fine.
Her acting is hit or miss, but her funny lines make up for it.
“Well, if you put it like that….don’t put it like that”.
There’s also Jean Frank, the french singer dude who is also hit or miss, but only cuz of his french accent. However, his best line is in the scene where Hallie pretends to be french and calls him up to get the tickets. She still speaks English but….he keeps speaking french to her anyway.
I was gonna call this out until..
“By the way, speaking with a french accent, is still speaking English”
Nice. He appears at the end but we’ll get to the that later. Also, there’s the brother who is okay but doesn’t do much. Except have a running joke where he has a female voiced GPS even though he knows how to get to where he usually goes.
He has it cuz he thinks the voice is hot. Um…ew.
Now, I’m going to expand on my personal feelings later, but let’s take a more critical view. The story Is what you’d expect. Two friends end up having to compete to get what they want and end up fighting so much that they forget why they were friends but eventually they realize their mistakes and make up.
They do that, but unlike story 1, they pull it off fine. Even on a critical level, it’s not as bad as some other stories. Watching the movie would give you a better idea of what I mean, but it’s not quite as bad I thought it would be.
See, it’s not like they have no reason to be forced to fight. Hallie is the one who sent in the request to talk to St Claire and she pulled Avalon over since it’s their site of course. But St Claire didn’t know there was another one (even though she is literally the face of the site) and just wants Hallie to work here.
The gals aren’t okay with that, and Claire there can only be one. So she does little cometetion to see which one will work for here. So the fighting is a bit more innidenetial than it could have been.
It’s certainly not an un-cliche story, and it’s still weighed down by the cliches….but the way it’s shown makes it so much fun that I can forgive that. On top of that, the whole thing is oddly self aware.
Not really in the script, but in the acting. Just the way they go through this makes it seem like they know their subtropical and are gonna have fun with it. Conner price is the biggest culprit here, with how smug he is at times.
The main friends have their moments too. Just the way they go through this story is so much fun and it’s like the actors know this story, even if the script only has a couple lines that show this. That’s what makes this story fun.
My only real problem is that it’s really rushed at the end. They eventually both get to jean Frank and of course they fight. But then it turns out he isn’t even french. He’s just an american who went to France cuz the french actually liked his music. So he got this new personality and happened to drop by America.
Hallie gives a speech about being yourself…and he agrees and decides he will tell everyone who he really is. Short story shorter, the two bond after this and decide their fighting was stupid. They make a story about Jean Frank (with his permission) and take it to St Claire, on behalf of both of them.
Hallie awesomely tells Claire off, but Claire still doesn’t want them with her. So Connor price here helps self publish the zine, and everyone becomes the bestest of friends. The end.
It’s as rushed as I make it sound. The moral/meat of the story isn’t lost or anything, but it seemed to be resolved so quickly. I also don’t really like the Jean Frank thing as it’s a bit pointless and just there so they can have a story to report later.
But at the same time, it makes the cliches go by quicker without feeling TOO forced. So it it at least makes the story a breezy watch, and it gets the cliches done kind of right without bieng too rushed, or too cheesy.
So I guess it’s a strength, even if it’s a tad rushed. On a critical level, this story is mostly just “decent enough” since acting is a part of the the critical part, and it has genuinely funny lines. But due to some cliché parts and rushed ending, it does lower it’s score.
But personally, it’s “Fairly good” with how damn fun the actors can be at times. It’s cliché, but I feel it pulls the cliches off…fine and it feels sort of self aware with the acting. Also, it seems to to be very supporting the “indie’ scene as Hallie has hipster glasses, they talk about Idnie kind of stuff, and of course they don’t bow down to the mainstream “man’ and all that.
Call the “fighting the man” thing cliché if you want, it is interesting to see that in a DCOM. I’ll keep this short: This story has very good chemistry with it’s actors, good acting in itself, some good lines and an attitude this is a lot of fun.
It’s nothing amazing, but it’s easily the best story. I give it a pass. Next!
And now it’s time for our three to connect somehow. Savannah the skater chick from the first story meets a rich British chick who looks exactly like her. Emma the british chick wants to live normal life with the struggles of being proper, and Savannah wants to be rich.
So since they look alike, they switch places but find that the other life sucks and then they end up fighting somehow.
I figured the stories would connect like this given the whole…three stories idea, so I don’t mind that part. Though some people did for some reason. However, I do think it would be better if they just did the 2nd story as it’s own movie, as the way that one is referenced in the other stories kind of saves them.
This one is sadly, not the best story go out on. I suppose it’s a tad better than the first story, but may be the laziest due to how certain things are written. Like story 1, it’s pretty cliché. It’s a typical “Prince and the pauper” type story, and it’s no better nor worse than most attempts at it.
But the first sin is how shitty the actress’ British accent is. I mean, I think both girls are the same actress but whoever is playing Emma has such a bad British Accent. I’ve heard worse, but yikes. Speaking of, she has the most stereotypical British family I’ve ever seen.
They got a butler, Emma has a boyfriend dude named Lance who rides horses, and Emma is forced to do fencing, which has somehow become a British thing in a lot of stuff. It’s just very typical and …well not offensive but pretty dumb.
But my biggest issue is how rushed the story, and by extent, the whole film’s ending is. How does the “fighting friends” thing come into play? Allow Wikipedia to explain:
“. Emma (disguised as Savannah) gets a date with Jake and Emma starts acting romantic causing Savannah to get mad and say “That’s my boyfriend!” The two start fighting.“
It’s about as rushed as it sounds. The just kind of fight….cuz of some dumb stuff that makes no sense. The 1st story, for it’s flaws, was complete. The whole fighting friends thing was at least in the center, and felt mostly natural. Same goes for story 2.
Here? It’s so rushed! It starts off like a normal story, but it’s like the writers suddenly remembered the theme of the movie and threw that in! And the resolution is, shock of all shockers, equally rushed.
Wikipedia even makes it seem non-existent, cuz it is. There’s some rich dance thingy held at Emma’s place and then Savvnah realizes how much of a dick lance is, then stuff happens, then….the two just kind of make up, Emma gets a puppy somehow, Avalon and Halie show up, there’s a random “mess making at a party” type of ending, we fade back to Hallie’s narration from earlier as she says it’s important to be friends or some crap, and the movie ends.
Okay, that was a terrible run on sentence, and it’s got more to it, but it really felt that rushed. The movie just kind of…ends, without making it’s original point. It’s like when someone is telling the joke, but forgets it halfway through, and just halfheartedly moves on the next subject.
It just feels so odd, given how much “heart’ the movie was trying to have before. It’s really rushed, and I kind of forgot the point they were trying to make. The note it ends on is a bit nice, and Stephanie Scott plays us out out nicely with the credits pop song. Funny how out of the 3 stars in this, they got the one NOT brought up a singer to do the song.
But overall, it was an odd way to end the story. On the bright side, it sometimes shows hints at being better with some okay humor. I love the snarky butler, as he gets some good lines. He is the 2nd best butler on the Disney channel that serves a character named Emma.
And as cliched as Lance is, he has some okay lines and I love his reaction to getting dump. I won’t flat out qoute it, but it is pretty amusing.
But other than the, this story is cliched and dull. It’s mostly better than the first story due to some slightly better aspects and having the main chick’s acting be acceptable (as Savannah anyway).
But the rushed fighting, and the rushed ending kind of hurt it, and it could make it the weakest story for you. But back to humor, there is one amusing bit early. See, Avalon and Halllie make a cameo early on, as a Tv Tropes reviewer ponted out, they are the saving grace for a bit.
See, there’s a bit when the soon to be switched up girls first take notice of how alike they look. Then Avalon and Hallie pop up from behind and flat out go “Okay, you all know you look alike, so why don’t you switch?
That may be a bit rushed…but it’s also AWESOME. I love how self aware it is. It’s like they are saying “Okay, we all know the cliché so let’s get it out of the way quickly”. It’s just nice, and proves why that 2nd story was the best.
Like Story 1, this is a guilty pleasure, and fun to mock but with the amazing presence of Lexi, it’s only critically better in it’s best moments compared to story 1, which is a tad more enjoyable.
As a whole, this story is just a weak note to end the movie on. I do like how they somehow include all 3 stories into it, but I don’t like how it doesn’t match them up thematically. It’s a tad forced.
As you can tell, I’m very mixed at how this story is compared to story 1. Is it better or worse? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter. This is a fun but weak story to end on. But it’s not TOO bad, just…weak.
Now for the film as whole. Any film with more than 1 story can be mixed cuz some fit better as a whole, while some fit better piece by piece. This is a better piece by piece, as each one has a fair amount of strengths and weaknesses that do their job…for the most part.
But all together, they don’t mesh well. The first 2 do have a theme of fitting friends, but story 3 alone sort of skewers the films point. The message is…sometimes fighting friends can stop fighting or something. That’s it. It just ends kind of weakly.
But it at least has kind of point, and it has it’s place for it’s target audience. I sounded oddly negative on Story’s 1 and 3, even though I’d put the guilty pleasure stamp on them. They are both a bit better than say Camp Rock or Let Shine, though I admit the latter is better acted when it comes to the non-villain characters.
By that I mean Lexi OWNS Nico.
So my feelings are a bit odd. Some are mixed on how they chose to make it an anthology and all that. I can kind of agree, as it would have made more sense to just make Story 3 a movie so including the other characters would feel less forced.
Or better yet, make Story 2 it’s own movie! If it had a longer length, and an even better script., it could have been a pretty fun movie. But instead, it’s a slightly rushed middle story in a weak film.
I like the idea of this anthology, and sometimes it’s done fine, but I would have liked it if it was just one good story, and not just 2 weak ones and one passable one. I sound negative, but in true Spongey fashion, I don’t think it’s critically bad, just weak.
It’s perfectly fun in the way “Let it shine’ and “Princess Protection program/’ were. However, this was….well more disappointing than LIS as it had a good idea, and one actress I kind of crush on.
Can’t say how disappointing it is compared to PPP as it has an amazingly awesome lead who saves her film more than the one for this film. So that mere guilty pleasure on her resume was less disappointing.
Look, to make a long story short, this is a guilty pleasure fun ride that is enjoyable. Story 2 is a ton of fun and worth watching. But as a whole, the film is just kind of typical and weak.
Just skip to story 2, then turn off the movie. It’s your best option.
Kind of sad to have a negative-ish review after such a positive one, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Hope you liked this, and stay tuned for more!