Hello, Spongey here, and welcome to the finale of DCOM Month 2!
My new schedule has prevented this from being an action packed month, but we’ve had some fun this month. Although we oddly enough didn’t get a really really good one last month. Tiger Cruise was decent but not really my kind of thing.
Still, it’s been interesting. And really, I can think of no other way to close out this month than with the one that started it all!
See, 2006’s High School Musical is credit as the start of the Modern Era of DCOM’s, but in reality this one got the ball rolling. 2003 is when we got introduced to That’s so Raven and this film, both products started Disney Channel’s trend of pushing pop stars with the help of Sitcoms and movies.
The beginning of the end, if you will.
It’s safe to this film is pretty darn legendary. Of course there were plenty of normal DCOM’s between 2003 and 2006 with no stars of anything. Which is why most people consider HSM to true start of the downfall.
But that wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for this one. And guess what? I actually haven’t seen it yet! Yeah, you think I would have seen it, but nope. I just haven’t gotten around to watching the whole thing in one sitting.
My brother has seen all 3 of them, so there is that. He did like them too much, if you’re wondering. I’ve been curious to see “good” this epic film is, so today we shall find out. Apparently it was based on a book series, which I did not known until just now, looking it up.
The director and writer have not done anything interesting, and didn’t come back for the sequels so we can move on to the actual movie. Is this legendary, historical film any good?
…Actually the better question, will I like it? Let’s see!
This, is The Cheetah Girls
The movie opens with our titular 4 girls singing. Well, they aren’t beating around the bush on this, are they? When the song ends, it turns out they singing it at some kids birthday party, and it doesn’t end well. They feel they aren’t ready for some upcoming talent show.
These girls are Bubbles, Cuchie, Do, and Aqua. These are nicknames, thank god. Bubbles is played by raven Symone and she’s the only person I really know in this movie. Well, I kind of know Sabrina Bryan cuz she a couple other Disney things, and she got top billing in Mostly Ghostly 1 despite only having a cameo.
They talk like Disney Channel teens for a bit, and after some time is wasted, Raven goes home to her Mom. Raven tells her about the whole talent show thing and how the winner gets time in a recording studio where they can record a demo. Talent show winners at this school tend to get notice so this is a big deal, I guess.
Do goes to her home where we get we find out she is of Spanish descent and yep, that means stereotypes and some annoying chatter from her family members. Hey, that’s just how they are shown in movies like this, I know this isn’t the deal in real life, I’m not racist, nor is the movie…it’s just stupid. More time is wasted there (her scene added up to nothing, really) and we cut to the next day at school.
This is a good time to mention that even by the standards of a movie like this, the girls chatter is kind of annoying and wastes quite of a time. I’m not sure how it could have been fixed, but it’s a minor issue so for. It is annoying in a fun to mock way, at least. Time is wasted at school, and we get them auditioning for the talent show, which means another song.
They make it in ….but not before the teacher joins in with some singing for a bit. Uh…okay. This isn’t a HSM style a musical, by the way. I…heard one of the sequels is tough, but we’ll get there. And by some truly insane stroke of luck, big-time producer named Jackal Johnson shows up. He went to this school once and I guess he wanted to visit his old teacher. Flimsy excuse aside, this is incredibly convenient. This is the stuff they make fun of now!
He’s looking for the next big thing and of course he wants The Cheetah Girls. Raven’s Mom shows up and she doesn’t like this idea, for some reason. Their dreams are crushed for the time being. I guess the writers didn’t’ want to start up the plot too quickly. Then again I doubt we’re gonna find out more about the girls than we already know:
One is Raven and acts exactly like all her other characters, one is sassy and white, one is sassy and Spanish, and one is black. That’s about it. Later, Raven argues with her home about this and Mom still says no. She uses that whole “realism” thing as an “excuse” for why they can’t do this. Dad convinces her to change her mind, and she does and says Raven can this.
Well, that was pointless.
After more time is wasted, they visit the prouder guy and boring story short, they sign a contract and blah blah blah. From this scene, they’ve made it obvious where this is going: The girls are going to let fame go to their heads, argue a lot, break up, make up, yada yada. It’s a time honored cliché so it’s not really this film’s fault but…still.
The producer tells them to go home and sing a little demo for him and immediately Raven starts acting all Diva-ish at school and the other girls are not happy. Wow, that quick. This should happen after their semi famous, not after one meeting!
Raven continues to act like a bitch and she starts being especially bad to Do who quits on the spot. Shouldn’t this happen near the 3rd act, not 44 minutes in? Yeah, poor pacing is a trend this month. It seems like time is wasted in the next few minutes, but it turns out to be semi important as Do visits the white one (‘m already forgetting their names) who lives in a crappy run down place. They talk and she starts crying and-
“My real Mom didn’t want me, I’m a foster child and live with ten other kids!”
…Now that is some bad exposition. It’s not even worth the Modern Spongebob reference.
It’s the most character depth we’ve seen so far, and on its own it’s nice but it fails because it’s so out of nowhere, and has no lead in at all. It’s disconnected with the plot currently going on.
Later Do visits Raven who shows her a CD cover she made, which features Raven very prominently, Of course. As a side note, Raven is the most prominent on most of the marketing materiel for the movie.
“I did write the songs”
Her bitchy-ness is both amusing and annoying in this. Naturally, Do gets mad and she tells Raven about the white one’s whole deal. They calm down and Raven assures her it’ll be fine.
The next day they visit the producer who wants them to change their image for marketing reasons. Oh look he’s sleazy and it’s all too good to be true. What a shock.
Also, mock over marketing while you can, cuz after this movie becomes a hit you’re gonna be guilty of all the same stuff!
They go on anyway and we get another song. All of these are about you’d expect so that’s why I’m not offering my thoughts on them. They’re all alight, I guess. After the song, the producer shows them the song they want them to sing which is autotuned crap. …Well, the song they just did wasn’t overly auto-tuned so I can’t get mad here.
Raven finally wises up and tells him they won’t do this. …But the others want to stay. They are seriously just doing this to mad at Raven, cuz she’s very much on the same page now. But nope, we still need conflict.
“He knows the business, I think we should consider it”
Shouldn’t Raven the one wanting to play into this crap and the others say it’s not the right? You’ve had Raven being like the kind person who would do that but now you just flip flop for no reason?
“It’s not your song so you wanna walk”
They are trying to make this feel in character, but it really just isn’t. Anyone with half a brain would see this guy as a sleazy douchebag with his plans being overly marketed crap, but for the sake being terrible to Raven the gotta side with him.
This is the worst time to have them call out raven. You know, when she’s actually right! With that, Raven leaves and the others take the deal. The producer says they will find a new singer and make Do the lead.
After a sad montage, Do goes home only to get chewed out by her Mom for running out her credit card. Then suddenly Do just kind of starts crying about some stuff I’m not following. I’m pretty sure it involves forced exposition, just like with the white one.
I feel so racist when I don’t know anyone’s name. Raven goes to the school to sulk via singing and some guy hears it and likes it.
After they talk a bit, we cut to the next day as Raven is walking her dog. The dog gets loose and falls down a hole. Wow, they went for the dog conflict? That’s how you know they didn’t know how to write a proper story like this.
Then again, we need something to bring the girls together and it breaks from cliché a bit and makes sense…so why did I complain?
Also, the dog’s name is Toto and when the news reports this…
“Toto is not in Kansas anymore”
No. Also, slow news day.
Naturally, this is going on at the same time as the talent show. The other girls show up to help and the people over at school show up as well, having caught wind of this.
Man, I wasn’t aware some random dog getting trapped in a whole was such a big deal they’ll stop a talent show for one. Granted, the power went out but it came back on right before they get the news, so there.
Jokes aside, they do a nice job of making this decently suspenseful, I suppose. But it does get a little silly when the girls start signing to make the dog come out. It’s supposed to sweet but it’s just…silly.
The dog is saved and everything’s happy. Well, it actually gets a little sad again until Raven starts signing. This time for pretty much no reason other than to have a “Sweet” scene where the girls join in. With that, it cuts to them at the talent show, finally banding together as one.
I think I’m okay with how this happened. I’d usually bitch that this randomly got resolved weakly, but the dog thing is a…strong enough set piece to make it work, I guess. Also, Jackal is watching this somehow and one of lackeys says he blew it. Cute, he’ll be back for a fiery vengeance in Cheetah Girls 2: Return of the Jedi.
With that, the girls are all friends again and of course they win the talent show. They celebrate and yep, it’s where the credits roll. I’m getting shock of bitching about abrupt endings, and since I’ve seen worse, even this month, I’ll keep my mouth shut.
I will say that the credits are the shortest I’ve seen in a long time, which is great.
Well, that was both exactly what I expected, and different at the same time. I figured it would have that story with the friends forming a band, getting famous thanks to a producer, and appointed leader becoming a bitch. I also figured it would all that crap I know DCOM’s for, and I would greatly enjoy it no matter how it is.
That only…half happened. It has that story but it somehow gets in the wrong in the smallest ways. I’ve harped on how Raven randomly becomes a bitch out of nowhere before they even strike a deal, and how the big moment where the friends strike back is in a moment that makes them seem out of character.
They somehow got the most basic story in the world wrong, but they also strike the right notes. We got the story about fame in here with a nice little message and puts it above some other DCOM’s in that aspect. This movie really is an even mix of getting things right and getting things wrong.
Allow me to answer your first question: I did kind of enjoy it. I can snark on the dumb moments like I usually do, no problem there. However, I don’t have as much fun as I do with other films. The over the top insanity shown in stuff such as High School Musical, Camp Rock 2, and even Princess Protection Program managed to entertain me just a bit more on that guilty pleasure level.
I think it’s because this movie is sort of trapped between the classic era and the modern era. It’s the small and personal feeling of a Pre 2003 DCOM while also having the tween-y feeling of a modern DCOM. Thus, it doesn’t quite go all the well and isn’t as fun.
Don’t worry, I can get through it so don’t think I’m saying something like HSM is better or anything. While this screw up its structure more than that one, it has less of the weird stuff people harp on.
The story, like I said, gets some things wrong and is also insanely cliché. I can forgive the latter but the former does harm it a bit in some areas.
The characters are about what you would expect. The only important characters who ever do anything are the titular girls, and only Raven and Do seem to get any sort of development, as their friendship is highlighted the most.
Despite the whole bitch thing, Raven does get the better development and I buy that she learned her lesson. The others just fill their archetypes though, and don’t really stick out.
The mom is the typical Mom, and the producer isn’t nearly as fun as he should have been. They work okay in some parts, but maybe more development was needed. Also, in the end their chatter wasn’t a huge problem and that is where the more enjoyable element comes in.
Also, the acting is fine, I suppose. They at least try and hey, Raven’s got talent at least.
As a whole, it set the stage for Modern DCOM’s as much as I expected to. It’s less enjoyable than osme others, but that’s due to the reason I gave above. It’s more flawed than I figured it would be, but it has its heart in the right place and is a decent one to make fun on.
It’s almost like Camp Rock where it was worse than I thought it would be, but this one actually has a semi competent despite its flaws.
It’s alright, by my guilty pleasure standards. But I hope the sequels are “Better”.
And that ends DCOM month 2! Will there be another one? Most likely not, but if you want one, I’ll see what I can do. It was a fun ride even if we didn’t exactly get a Smart House this time around.
Next time, we go back to normal by almost kind of wrapping up Tinkerbell!