Hello, Spongey here. Welcome back to DCOM-cember!
Now we must jump ahead by…one year, to look another older-ish one. Only this one is kind of well known, as it has the world’s first (in)famous Disney star, This was probably the first example of a DCOM exiting to push the star of their current hit show and all that.
So in many ways, this is to Modern DCOM’s what Lizzue Mcguire was to Disney Channel shows. It’s pretty significant as far as pre-2006 DCOM’s go. (It’s up to if 2003’s ‘The Cheetah Girls” was where the modern style DCOM really took off, or if it was you know what).
Not to mention that it’s the 9th highest rated DCOM of all time, with the original High School Musical at 10.
All that means even the biggest fans of this movie will secretly hate it for helping start the new trend DCOMs follow. But how is it when forgetting all that? Does it rightfully stand at attention, or does it insert bad military pun here? Let’s find out!
This, is Cadet Kelly
Lizzie McGuire, I mean Kelly is a free spirited teeanger whose Mom just got married to the Dad from Kim Possible who runs a military school. Which means they move out to his area, and Kelly must now go to said military school. Naturally, she doesn’t fit in, escp[aily with Kim Possible, I mean Captain Stone breathing down her neck. But of course, she will try to fit in, and even get used to this military thing and become a better person and all that.
First of all, I love that the actors of both Kim Possible and her dad are in this. But now for the review proper. The movie itself is pretty solid. It actually kind of ended up impressing me in the end. Like the Poof point, there aren’t a ton of hugely impressive elements on their own that would say anyone, unlike the best DCOMs.
But unlike that film, this actually has impressive elements as a whole and in the end, I enjoyed it a lot, even it’s weaker moment. The Poof Point kind of me just got a meh from me in it’s weaker moments.
This isn’t a tour de force, even as DCOMs go, but has a good heart and it’s a decent time waster. The story itself is nothing all that new, and when you look at the plot, it hits most of the cliches you would expect, and it is a tad typical at times.
However, I think it overcame that limitation in the end because a lot of heart was put into it, and by the 3rd act, I was so invested that I kind of forgot how cliché some of this is. Plus, the writers and actors do a decent job of carrying it.
But now when I’m praising too much, so let’s first dig into the flaws. First off all, the different subplots and all actually do come together nicely (I’ll explain why later) but some parts, I think, needed some re-writes.
In the first half, the Kelly/Stone rivalry is more of less the focus, but out of nowhere, the focus shifts to Kelly’s developments…which is done better in this half, but that’s not my point Stone does show up a lot in this half, and she of course is involved in the plot, but since Stone pretty much stole the show in the first half, I wanted more of her.
Also, there’s this thing involving, Stone and Kelly both liking Iceman from X-men, I mean Brad. It seems like it’s important, and Brad does move the plot in some parts…but the ‘romance” goes absolutely nowhere, and at the end no one gets together or anything. What was the point of all that?!
Speaking of dumb things with no point, here’s my other problem. Kelly strikes up a friendship with this black chick, which stops being important halfway through. Near the end, Kelly’s home best friend Amanda shows up and Kelly says Amanda is her best friend forever or whatever.
Then…Carla the black chick gets pissed or something, and the next time Kelly talks to her, she’s like “Why don’t you ask your real friend” or whatever? My god, why is that even there? It’s resolved pretty much right away later on.
It doesn’t last long, but it stops the film dead in it’s tracks because it’s not done well and it has nothing to so with anything. Even Wikipedia leaves this out of it’s summary, which otherwise covers anything.
But yeah, those are the more nitpick-y flaws. Back to the story, they pull it off fine even though it’s not exactly unpredictable. I think he reason is that once the full story kicks in about halfway through, I started to really like this characters, and I started feeling the weight of everything that is going on.
There are two big conflicts in this movie: Kelly trying to adjust to Military life, which includes avoiding her new found nemesis. The other is Kelly is dealing with this new Dad and him trying to adjust to all the crazy crap Kelly does…and getting ready to have a kid cuz Mom is preggo.
These are both kind of separate for most of the movie, but eventually they both come together in a way that I liked. When they were first coming together, I felt it was a bit contrived, but by the end I kind of liked it.
See, Kelly plays some prank on Stone, which gets her Court Martialed. She is found guilty and “Sir” (her name for the stepdad dude) makes her be the equipment manager for the drill team (which she had criticized earlier).
It’s through this that she learns to appreciate what said team does, and all that. She then decides to join the team after learning some moves, and thinks they need inspiration. And so through all that, she truly gets into this Military thing, and Sir starts seeing some potential in Kelly and all that.
I first though the whole whole “Court Martial” thing was just a forced way to get a climax, as the drill team’s regional thingy becomes the climax kind of. However, as the climax itself played out, I saw how well it works out.
When these two conflicts came together in the 3rd act, I started to think the story itself was a critically good one. It actually becomes kind of impressive in that part. True, some of it was cliché at first, but I did really appreciate how it worked out in the end.
But in order to set the stage for the 3rd act moment I am talking to, we have to go over the characters. Most importantly, Kelly herself, played by Hillary Duff. Much like Raven Symone, she was that Disney star that started it all, and did not drown in coke…but vanished from the face of the earth.
I haven’t seen a ton of her stuff since I was younger-ish so I can’t tell you if she is awesome overall. I haven’t seen much of Lizzie Mccguire (but I will have to review the movie someday) in years. Infact, now the only thing I can connect her to as of late is…Food Fight.
…What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, Cadet Kelly. Her performance in this one is actually pretty good. Early on, she could be kind of forced with the humor. But as the character gets better, so does her acting. She has some emotional stuff, which she handles fairly well.
Overall, she is hit or miss but she does help carry the character. Now for the character herself. At the start, she’d the high spirited type who likes teen stuff, and when she is moved to Military school, she hates it as it cramps her style.
She keeps trying to insert her style into to liven it up but soon learns to adapt to this new lifestyle and all that jazz. Yeah, this seems pretty typical as far as teen girl characters. And yes, I did think it was a little dumb early on.
On top of that, the fact that she kept trying to stay “bright” in spite of her orders was kind of almost odd. You think she would try to calm down with people like Stone breathing down her neck. However, the movie does an okay job of covering that up and she does become decently likable.
Now, the whole “Getting used to your new environment” kind of thing of has been done, but I really enjoyed it here. Mostly cuz it’s a cliché I secretly enjoy to an extent. I really enjoy someone either beating the odds, or going “If you can’t beat ’em, join em” and all that.
This film shows that pretty well. One example is when she’s forced to do this obstacle course over and over again until she gets it right. Of course she doesn’t like it but she tries to soften up the officer told to look after her. Long story short, they actually strike a friendship (which is only mentioned once after this scene but whatever).
And thus, the chick acts more friendly and constructively teaches her how to make it through the course. It’s a nice moment where Kelly starts to get good at this thing. But i’ll go ahead and skip to the best part of the whole movie.
Long story short, she does good in the drill team and they get to this huge deal final match…thingy. Now, earlier her actual Dad, who she keeps a great relationship with, came to visit. He said he would be there at the big thingy.
But uh-no, he isn’t here yet. Kelly tried calling him but his short lived call sounded like he was in some come of danger. This is somewhat confirmed, and sir is fully ready to let Kelly leave and go with her to find him.
But as much as Kelly wants to, she knows she will screw her team over if she leaves. She’s grown attached to this school and the drill team in particular. She really does want to go help find Dad, and she start tearing up as she explains how spilt she is, and all I just explained to you.
….Damn, this was one great moment. They could have easily made her a bit bitchy in thinking for a second this thingy is more important than Dad. But they show that she knows that and it’s an actual dilemma.
And it’s less about some thingy, and more about her need to finally please her new Dad, and show she is willingly to let him into her life and all that. It’s a very nice moment that other films don’t really have.
Of course she does go find Dad, and he is indeed in danger. On top of that, Kelly uses some of the stuff she learned to save Dad by herself. It only adds to what I was talking about. It turns a character who seemed typical, into a well-developed character with quite a bit to her.
Hilary Duff, of course, helps that a lot. Anyway, this movie thankfully only has two other notable characters, so let’s go to them.
There’s Sir himself, who helps steal the show with how amazingly stern, yet loving, he can be. Actually, there isn’t a ton to say about him. Like with Kelly, he does develop and a big part of the plot, is Kelly getting Sir to learn how to be a good dad.
And as the movie goes along we get to that 3rd act moment that helps them bond and yada yada. Really, most of what I said before extends to him. His development feels a tad more cliché then Kelly’s, but I think it still works.
And again, this actor does a very good job at conveying all this. I won’t on about that though, in part due to lazyness, the other part due to wanting move on.
He’s pretty cool, but the real scene stealer is Captain Jennifer Stone. Not, that that hick who plays Harper on WOWP. The character Jennifer Stone in this movie, who is awesome. She’s hard the obligatory hardass Captain type person, and she is amazing.
She is played by Christy Carlson Ramano, who as I hinted before is best known for voicing Kim Possible. She pretty much steals the show, in how amazingly bitchy she is. Just the way she looks at some people and all that stuff, gives her a commanding presense that is just awesome.
One example is when she sees that Kelly was hiding one of her own, more colorful, blankets, in her bunk. So of course….she tears it up Granted, this seemed like overkill for the character….but she does it so awesomely that you don’t mind.
She pretty much steals the first half, and she is awesome. She isn’t in the 2nd half as much but by that point, Duff was getting better so I didn’t mind. Stone herself is bitch-y but is more of less controlled in her bitch-y-ness. We do see a more fun side of her early on, instead of having it come out in a forced scene later on, like other movies would do.
The character herself doesn’t really develop so much as become a bit nicer and respect Kelly more. They are forced to work together at the drill team thing by the end, which thankfully doesn’t feel forced.
It works out fine. But I do think the film could use a little more focus when it comes to her, as was so I used to her taking over the movie, that the lack of that conflict in the 2nd half was a little odd to me.
The only other notable characters are that friend, who is okay but not interesting, The mom, who is…the mom, and Brad who is the pointless love interested who thankfully vanished at the end.
Thankfully, the 3 main characters are interesting and have decent actors behind them. It’s better to 3 good character that take up the whole movie, then 233332 shitty ones that are scattered throughout. …Anyway, now it’s time to wrap up this review.
Yeah, I know it’s weird me to say I’m keeping it short since this review of really late…but I…yeah I have no excuse. But either way, I am keeping this one short.
I don’t have much to else add. Well, except I like that they don’t make a big joke out of the military or anything, but they also don’t suck the army’s dick or anything. They put in a positive light and Kelly just simply needs to adjust to it.
Granted, I’m sure a lot of is inaccurate, but I ain’t no expert.
Either way, the movie is pretty good. Yeah, it has it’s typical moments as well some dumb cliches. But at the same time, they also work in some decent development and make us care about the story and characters.
At the start, I thought this might be like the Poof Point where I am enjoy it in spite of dumb parts, but in the end it was a lot smarter than it should have been.
It has it’s genuine flaws, especially early on, but it’s still a solid flick. As far as DCOM’s go, this isn’t one of the more standout ones, but it’s one of the more interesting pre 2003 ones. This one isn’t remembered as the more amazing ones with the “pro classic” crowed but most people seem to be cool with it, so I’d call it a success.
It’s on Netflix, so if this review got you wanting to see it, there you go. I don ‘t have much else to add to be honest. It takes a cliché story and creates a decently written film with good character, solid performances and powerful moments.
I was flip flopping on the grade, but i’ll be nice on this one.
Another short one, but again, I gave my thoughts on it so if you want more, suck if. Either way, check out the movie if you want, and I swear the next DCOM-cember won’t take me a week to do.