Hello, Spongey here.
Well my friends, it’s time once again to tackle a recent Disney Channel movie. Let’s talk about the different types of Modern DCOM’s. These types are separated by many factors, mostly the stars it’s pushing and how important it seems to be in the eyes of the Channel. There’s type A, which is where you have your heavy hitters like High School Musical and Camp Rock. There’s only a few of these since only so many can be that huge, and some get to that status over time. Teen Beach Movie is an example of this.
Then there’s types of B and B+. The B type typically star minor stars, who tend to be known for supporting roles on their shows or the like. (Wendy Wu, MinuteMen,etc). some of these can be a bit big but they tend to be lower tier or less remembered. B+ ones tend to star big stars but either have the feel of a B type, or are just not as advertised. (Cloud 9, Princess Protection Program, etc). Though sometimes these can be among the highest rated DCOM’s so your millage may vary.
Why am I saying all of this? Because I couldn’t think of a better way to open this review. Today’s subject is a B+ type, if you’re wondering. This one certainly had a lot of advertising, and a result, it did decently well. It did get some attention from people, unlike Cloud 9, due to it’s concept. We’ll get to that in the actual review. Really, a film with this concept doing well isn’t the worst thing ever. This movie doing well didn’t do anything bad…except it may have taken the views away from the Legend of Korra, leading it to bomb and thus go online.
But hey, I don’t know anything.
The star for this one is Zendaya, who firmly believes that last names are for losers. Of the two Shake It Up stars, I figured Bella Thorne would be the one to get all the juicy roles, since she just looks like the type they go for, but nope, Zendaya got a movie a new show premiering this week, while Bella has Alaexadner and the horribly long name, and Blended…an Adam Sandler comedy.
Jokes aside, she’s alright. She tended to be pretty okay on here show, and she’s proven to be good at being crazy given her weirder episodes and that episode of A.N.T. Farm she was on. She and Bella were also oddly enough, the highlights of Frenemies. Given how Dove ended up doing in Cloud 9, I wouldn’t get my hopes for an outstanding performance, though.
I did watch this one when it aired, but as usual, my attention was on and off, so I won’t be able to give an informed review until we’re done here. Before we finally start, let’s go over the director and writers. For Director, we have Peter Deluise, who previously brought us some Haunting Hour episodes, and 16 Wishes.
I may have gushed about that before but screw it, that’s still a good sign. We have four writers, none of which have did anything important. With those credentials, this can only be the best thing ever!
So without further ado, let’s dive in and see how this movie is. And see how disappointed you are when I don’t make any jokes about that other movie with the same name.
This, is Zapped
The movie opens at a Wedding, as we meet our teenage heroine, Zoey, played by Zendya. Her Mom is getting married which means her life is likes totes gonna go upside down!
…I’m so sorry.
She uses her maid of honor speech to give us some exposition of her new family remember, all of which are boys. A fact the movie will remind you of for the 1st act of the film. The dog, through some wacky hijnks, makes a big mess and gets a bunch of liquid stuff on Coey. So we have Zoey telling us that boys are kind of gross, and boys causing her misfortune.
Yeah, get ready for a lot of that.
Hell, the next scene has Zoey waking up to the sounds of the boys being nosy and …boy-ish. And now you’ve noticed the part people were not happy with. A good chunk off this movie relies on male stereotypes, and most of the humor stems from boys being icky and stuff. With perhaps one exception outside of our main male star, all the boys are typical in one or another.
Does this bug me? Sort of. I really don’t think it’s evil or anything, and it’s too stupid to be taken as the most sexist thing ever. But it does bug me on a narrative level. It’s pretty the same dumb joke over and over again and it’s not all that funny. However, it’s so over the top and dumb that I can kind of enjoy it.
So while I can see why there have been complaints, it doesn’t really bug as much as it likely should. Besides, the movie is dumb either way. As a side note, of the 3 writers, one is a woman, and 2 are men. It was on a book, which was written by a woman.
…So let’s move on. We have Zoey dealing with the boys, which includes the gross younger brother, the Sporty Dad, and the weird older brother. And also a dog. After a pep talk from Mom, she goes to her first day of her new school. When she gets there, we see that every damnboy in the school only hangs out with another boy, and there are many different…factions of boys.
There’s the shirtless boys (aka the Jacobs), the gamer boys, and the stinky boys. …Okay then. She also meets a boy named Tripp who refers to himself in the 3rd person, and farts in her face. …Okay. She bumps into a girl named Rachel who will be the best friend character for our movie. It dosn’t take long for them to chat it up and exchange clunky exposition.
Zoey is into dance, because of course she is, and when they are done talking, Zoey walks into the wrong classroom because it’s funny, I guess. This is where we meet our male lead, played by Adam from Lab Rats. He’s the smart one here. Yes, it’s surreal. He is tasked with taking Zoey to her correct classroom. He’s the lone wolf type who will call Zoey out on her flaws and all that good stuff.
Yes, they end up together.
He uses his amazing smarts to tell us more about her character. He can tell she likes to keep things neat, and she has a bit of a phone addiction. That part is important. He leaves and she goes to some Dance Audition thing. And this is where we meet our Alpha Bitch who is of course is in charge of who gets in. Being a DCOM Alpha Bitch, she’s pretty entertaining and is the best part of the movie. Also, she has a Yes Man lackey because of course she does.
Everyone is rejected at the audition but Zoey and Rachel are put on the JV team, which is full of losers. All of those losers are boys. Yeah, I think know which writers wrote most of the movie. When she gets home, the dog bugs her so she gets a dog training app. It works. At least until the dog ends up accidentally dropping her phone in the bathtub (Don’t ask) and when the younger brother tries to dry it off , it winds up flying outside where it hits a satfilie dish and drops to the ground. Yeah, this is all weird and it would not happen in real life, but just wait until you see what it does to the phone.
After all of that, she puts the phone in rice to get all the water out, and her Mom talks to her so we can squeeze some heart in. The next day, she gets up, hoping today will be a better day. But it doesn’t start off too well, as the dog app thing isn’t working anymore, even though the phone is doing fine otherwise.
But her commands do work on the mail man, even though she doesn’t see it. I’ll comment on that when the new power is confirmed. She goes to school and bumps into Tripp who does the farting thing again because it was so funny the first time. She tells him to stop, and he does. She quickly figures out that the app did this.
“The Tripp is…trippin'”
She tells him to go the bathroom and..
“No, not here!”
So yeah, the app now controls boys. Yes, that happened due to falling on a satellite dish. …Stranger things have happened in DCOM’s but that is still pretty stupid. And this is the concept of the movie. Honestly, the proytral of the boys is more “offensive” than this concept, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. And hey, we can get a decent message about power going to your head, or whatever.
Zoey meets with Rachel in the bathroom to talk about this, but they are interrupted by the Alpha Bitch, whose name I forgoet. Zoey tries the app on her, but it doesn’t work.
“Why are you giving me dog commands?’
Well, you are a bitch.
…I’m so sorry.
They leave and our heroes start using their new power in a montage. After that, Zoey goes home and makes her male family members calm down a bit. Not much to say during all of this.
Later, she bumps into Adam (don’t remember the character’s name) and they actually seem to hit it off. You know, the trailers made it seem like he wouldn’t be into her that much at first, picking at her flaws a lot like he did when he guessed she had a phone addiction. In the actual movie, they only play with it a bit and they get a long okay. Its cliché either way but I think going with that other angle could have been a bit more interesting. But ah well.
We found out his name is Jackson, by the way. The next day she goes to school and already the new boys aren’t all they are cracked up to be, as things are just weird. For example, she made Rachel’s boyfriend more open about his feelings, but not he’s too clingy. Saw that coming.
But despite that, she’s fine with how things are, and there seems to be more good than bad. Zoey goes to her first dancing practice with that lame JV team and she quickly becomes captain due to being the only member with talent, it seems.
She has a classic “whip the loser team into shape” plot on her hands, to say the least. This isn’t too hard because of the whole boy app thing. The boys start getting good, and the Alpha Bitch’s crew takes notice. So we get an epic dance battle which is made even better due to having the alpha bitch in it.
After that, Zoey pretty feels good about her groups skills, so she goes to the principal (I think) and proposes a dance off to see which team really is the best. She says yes and the alpha bitch is not happy, in the most delightful way.
“Everything is upside down. It’s like…Australia!”
Jackson pops up and it turns he and Alpha Bitch used to date. How that happened is not explained, at least for no. I do know that Alpha Bitch is…not over it. Jacksons asks Zoey out and she squees over that later on.
Also, Rachel says this:
“You know how in the movies, when someone gets magic powers and it all ends up going wrong? Do you think maybe that could happen to use?”
Whoa, things are self-aware up in here!
“Besides in those movies, who are the main character who mess everything up?”
No, I’ve seen some where girls mess up. Fuck, there’s a couple DCOM’s that are examples of that…and 16 Wishes is one of them. Did the director forget about a movie he made?
Later, Zoey meets with Jackson and when the date starts getting Rocky, she decides to use the app on him. This will end will. She uses it to make him flirt with her but her command is heard by two nerds instead and hilarity ensues.
Actually, it just ensues for a couple minutes before we cut to Jackson walking her home. Lame. When she’s home, she talks to the older brother where we get some heart. She learns that boys and girls aren’t so different and she starts to see the older brother’s point of view. It’s a nice moment, I suppose. After that, she goes inside and Dad talks to her to give us another nice moment.
“Maybe I misjudged these guys”
That’s nice but they kind of were …over the top boy-ish so you could argue the film justifies her reaction and thus this is weird. But personally, I don’t wanna look too deep into it and this is a nice character moment for me.
The next day, Zoey tries to fix the mess she made but ends up creating a bigger mess in the process. It’s amusing. To make it worse, her JV guys want to quit. She tries to make them do it with the phone but their dancing isn’t so good since their hearts aren’t into it.
The Alpha Bitch gloats about how bad they are, so Zoey uses her powers to make the make members of Alpha Bitch’s dance crew dance badly. This is the act that makes Zoey a bit too bitchy for everyone’s taste and of course Jackson sees her gloating like a bitch. Wah wah.
“You just treated them exactly how she does”
Yep, it’s the point where our hero is called out for their behavior, and must learn an important lesson. Woo hoo. Jackson walks away and Zoey finally turns off the phone until the plot will need it in a bit.
She goes home and thinks about what she’s done, but she finds out that college scouts are coming to see the older brother play in his big basketball game, but he can’t play due to some command that placed on him that I forgot about. Forced 3rd act conflict, away!
She shows up at the game and talks to the brother, who is named Adam. That makes me glad we found out Jackson’s name or that would be confusing. Actually, she pulls the family aside (Dad is the coach) to tell them why they are acting weird.
Her apology kind of distracts from the fact that normally they would not believe her story about a boy app. The younger comes up for the obligatory easy idea that they should have thought of earlier: Use a “release” command to reverse all the commands she has placed on the boys.
Great, now she just needs the phone. Oh wait, she threw it out because we need more forced 3rd conflict! As it turns out, Alpha Bitch got a hold of it and figured out what it does. This should have happened a bit earlier so this could take up more of the 3rd act. Czu you know, the villain getting the magical object usually ends up being the biggest conflict. Also, this is awesome.
She quickly takes advantage of it to make boys do her bidding. She goes into gym during this big pep rally…thing and makes all the boys bow down to her. Man, she’s almost outdoing Shapray at this point!
Zoey tries to talk her out of this with a speech showing what she has learned. She’s not gonna listen but Zoey tells her she will do whatever she wants. Alpha Bitch makes Zoey beg like a dog and it’s…really weird but enjoyably stupid. Suddenly, her male family members break out of the spell…somehow. It’s never explained. They just kind of…stop obeying.
“You can never make a dog turn against it’s own pack”
Not good enough!
Alpha Bitch is shocked and this distracts her long enough for Zoey to take the phone back. She says “Release!” and boom, everything is back to normal. Instead of trying to take it back, Alpha Bitch just admits defeat because…reasons.
With that, Zoey destroys the phone, once and for all.
“There’s more to life then what’s on a phone”
Timeless message for the ages.
Zoey apologizes to Jackson for everything and he’s just all like “okay”. He just kind of brushes it off like it’s nothing. Whatever. Before they can make out or whatever, Zoey still has that dance off thing because one climatic scene was not enough. Or maybe they thought Alpha Bitch needed another awesome-ish moment. That’s the excuse I’m okay with.
And yes, Zoey’s crews’ dance is set to the obligatory pop song performed by the star. It’s not a DCOM without it. Zoey wins and everyone is happy.
We cut to sometime later as Zoey does stuff with the family, or something. I don’t know, they are racing or something.
I only mention how confusing it is because the movie ends there. Yep, another abrupt DCOM ending and like Cloud 9, it weakens the film a bit. Not as much as that one, but still hurts it since it reminds me of the weaker aspects.
Actually, it doesn’t fully end because there’s a post credits scene. This random chick I don’t remember and this guy come across the phone and somehow it still works. Then it ends, leaving room for Zapped 2: The Second one. Hopefully it has a better ending.
I’ll keep this short, because I don’t have a lot to say here. This one of those DCOM’s where it’s a mix of being just kind of dull and being enjoyably stupid. It switches between both pretty often so overall, it’s just okay.
The main difference with this one is the concept, which is kind of sexist, I guess. I don’t know, the execution is too dumb to be offensive but it still kind of is. In the end, there’s a nice moral so I can’t hate on it too much.
The weak aspects come from the fact that it just kind of feels obligatory, putting in parts just to have them there. It does kind of feel like a typical DCOM but with a weird concept. Sometimes it’s just dull, and other times it’s enjoyably dumb. A lot of the LOLMENRDUM jokes in the first act are in the latter camp, but it does get repetitive after a while.
The story and characters are pretty stock. Zoey is kind of a bitch-y but she learns her lesson and gets the boy. There’s a friend who is just there to be a friend, and there’s an Alpha Bitch. Everyone else is just there to be there. At least Zendya ended up being used to her full potential being pretty enjoyable in some parts. However, the part doesn’t really let her do a whole lot compared to her more meaty roles in other works, so that kind of holds her back.
The rest of the acting is fine, with the biggest stand out being the Alpha Bitch. Seriously, she’s the most enjoyable since Shapray, beating the ones from Princess Protection Program and Radio Rebel. She represent the enjoyably dumb aspect, and she makes the movie worthwhile.
Otherwise, it’s just kind of meh. It’s nice and despite a few parts, inoffensive, but it could have been a bit more memorable. Also, the romance is really unwritten. Felt tacked on at the end and his character wasn’t too interesting
I will say that Peter Deluise has proven himself to be a good DCOM director. In this and 16 Wishes, he manages to mix the comedy and sweet-ness well so that the overall tone isn’t too dull and the sweet parts bit better. This and 16 Wishes are more comedic, and any off moments can be blamed on the writing more than anything. I think he should do more DCOM’s since he succeeds where Paul Hoen often fails.
So overall, it’s a typical DCOM with some parts that are more noteworthy than others. I enjoyed it for the Alpha Bitch alone but it’s not really worth seeing unless you are me. Its okay, I guess.
Yeah, didn’t feel like doing a personal grade this time. Next time, it’s our 4th round with Tinker Bell.