How to Build a Better Boy

With a premise like this, you couldn't build a better movie.

With a premise like this, you couldn’t build a better movie.

Hello, Spongey here.

Hey kids, it’s that time again! That’s right, it’s Disney Channel Movie time! Yep, after waiting a bit too long it’s time I got to the latest Disney Channel Movie…that is on Netflix. The actual latest movie is pending at the moment.

I would have gotten to this one sooner if Netflix didn’t put up this one BEFORE Zapped. I’m not sure why that happened but Zapped is there now…after I reviewed it. Good going on.

Anyway, now we’re finally covering this movie. I must say I was looking forward to this one for the premise alone. Everything about it seemed so silly and hilariously dumb. That’s exactly how I like my DCOM’s.

Let’s face it, the last two DCOM’s before this were a bit underwhelming. Cloud 9 and Zapped were alright but lacked the fun factor most “Not Good” DCOM’s tend to have. Zapped almost had it but lost it.

When I saw the trailer for this, I knew it would make up for all that. I saw it on Premire night as usual, and …yes, it met all my expectations. Now it’s time to share this amazing piece of art with you.

But of course, we have to discuss the people behind it. For one, the stars that are featured here. This one features China Anne McClaine and Kelli Berglund. China makes perfect sense, and some may recall her from A.N.T Farm …and also Grown Ups but that never happened.

She’s alright. She had some decent chops on her main show and could get nice and expressive in her best moments. Kelli is a bit more interesting, because she’s mostly known for Lab Rats…a Disney X D Show. She had never been in any real Disney Channel thing before this, so it’s a testament to how popular she got that she’s in this.

Then again, this isn’t the first time that happened. Remember Olivia Holt in Girl Vs Monster? Will this lead to her getting her own show like with that one? We’ll see. Anyway, she’s alright. Not the best, but fine, I suppose. She wasn’t the best actor on that show but she did okay.

We’ll see how these two manage in a film in a moment. As for the writer, he gave us Space Chimps. ..We’ll see. The director is Paul Hoen. That’s right, there were two Paul Hoen DCOM’s in the same year.

He’s appeared a lot on here and his DCOM’s tend to be of the guilty pleasure type. He switches between somewhat dull stuff like Let It Shine and Cloud 9 to a lesser extent, and more energetic stuff like Camp Rock 2 and Dadnapped.

Spoilers, this falls into the latter. But exactly how crazy is it? Let’s stop talking and finally get into it.

This, is How to Build a Better Boy

This teenybopper Disney movie opens at a secret morality base as tons of people running around, and this leader is talking.

“You lost track of a billion dollar weapon”

…Well, that’s one to open a DCOM.

Apparently some really dangerous criminals are here with that weapon.

“Give yourselves up!”

They comply and our evil criminals are two teenage girls. Oh what a hilarious misunderstanding. Jokes aside, this opening is awesome. It has over the top insanity mixed with two teenagers.

It sums up the movie quite nicely.

Naturally, we get our opening credits as we cut to 2 days earlier. We are introduced to our main character, Mae and Gabby, played by the aforementioned Kelli and China. We see them at school as they are wearing nerd glasses and have finished a test in only 9 minutes.

Yeah…I don’t buy these girls as nerds. Well, not Bree here anyway.

With their test done, they are allowed to leave class to take care of some of their duties. Mae is a tutor and China is…doing some other thing. She manages to help her student solve some hard problems through the power of football, and they get along rather nicely.

I don’t remember if he plays a big role in the story or not. Later, Mae tells Gabby about this and she tells her not to hold her breath about getting a date to home coming.

“Boys are a distraction”

Okay guess the entire conflict of the film right now. Chances are, you get got it right without even needing to know the premise.

Anyway, Jayden asks (via text) to meet Mae after football practice and this is great news for her. Also, his text is poorly written.

“Even Autocorrect can’t help this kid”

I know that feel.

Despite Gabby’s misgivings, Mae decides to go.

“To quote Ceaser, Cowards die a thousand deaths”

“You know Ceaser got stabbed, right?’

I think I’m starting to like Gabby a bit more out of the two.

So they go to his practice, and unfortunately they run into our Alpha Bitch for the evening, Nevaeh, played by Ashley Argoata. Once again I must point that this actor is 22, and is played a high schooler.

But at least that means it’s okay to think she’s hot. By the way, she was in a few episodes of Lab Rats, which I don’t think is a coincidence.
She acts exactly how you expect her to act, and it’s pretty awesome. She doesn’t approve of Mae wanting to be with Jayden cuz after all…you gotta bop to the top.

…Wait…

“Why do people even like you?”

She’s pretty…that’s about it.

Of course, Nevaeh happens to be dating Jayden, or at least that’s what she claims. He comes over and when Nevaeh asks him if he will ask her to the dance, he hesitates but says yes. If you’re gonna ask if he’s gonna ask…than doesn’t that mean YOU asked HIM?

Needless to say, Mae is sad and humiliated. So to save face, she claims to already have a boyfriend. She claims his name is Albert. Yeah, this lies will end well.

“What did you just get us into?”

After this, Mae’s brother shows, and he’s played by Matt Shively. You know, that annoy guy from Paranormal Activity 4? I’m so glad he’s here! The two go home and think about what they started.

“Why is Jayden even with her?”

Because writer loves the “nice guy is with Alpha bitch for no reason” cliché.

“Boys are like old smart phones”

Insert Zapped joke here.

“We don’t we invent a better one?”

You mean…Bad Hair day a better boy?

Mae’s Dad is a video game designer person, so they decided to use some of his tech to build a virtual boy.

“You want to hack into my Dad’s secure network and build me some high def boyfriend?”

When oyu say it like that it sounds hilariously insane. Also, I fail to see how this will help since Nevaeh will ask to meet the boy in some way.
“What’s the deal, it’s a video game company, not the department of Defense”

It cuts to the Department of Defense. Haw.

As it turns out, Mae’s Dad works for the Government and the Video Game thing is just a front. He is helping make a robot weapon thing. Because that turned out so well in insert sci fi movie here.

That night, Gabby hacks into Dad’s thingy, which means she hacks into the robot thing. They don’t question why the program keeps acting like this is a secret project instead of a video game.

They program this thing to pretty much be Mae’s idea of a perfect boy. He is blond with blue eyes, and while he’s super cute, he doesn’t know it.

“Which makes him even cuter!”

Ugh.

“He would super polite, almost Canadian”

CINEMMA SINS: That’s Racist.

All jokes aside, this scene is actually pretty decent. We see just how much thought Mae put into this, and what it means to her, and the acting isn’t too bad here. I also like how it cuts between them and the robot being made.

With that, they create the perfect virtual, but unknown to them, they make the perfect robot boy. So that’s two movies in a row where our main characters somehow ends up with a dangerous weapon made by their Dad. Weird.

Anyway, all this did quite a number on Dad’s tech that is back at home and it’s a bit crispy. And of course Dad is coming home at this very moment, and Bart (the brother) promises to try to cover for them.

As that is going on, we see the epic rise of the Mae’s perfect Robot Boy and he escapes the lab. Dun dun dun!

Back at home, we have awkward jokes with Bart trying to distract Dad. He’s able to do so and he promises he will help fix the stuff our heroes kind of fried. The next morning, Dad is called to the lab because of the …mess that new robot boy made.

Speaking of which, later at school Naveeh says that Albert added her on MyBookTwitbr, and our heroes find that odd since, as far as they know, he isn’t real. Of course the Alpha Bitch thinks it’s just a fake profile.

But then Albert appears at school, much to the shock of everyone. He’s pretty much a parody due at its finest. Okay, you may get out your Flash Sentry jokes.

Back at Dad’s work, they figure out that someone hacked into the place and made the world first robot boy. They can’t figure out where the robot is for some contrived reason I don’t wanna get into.

Anyway, our heroes don’t question where the hell Albert came from and Mae just rolls with it. Gabby questions it a bit but Mae is just…meh. Though to be fair, I guess she’s just used to hanging out with bonic super humans.

We get a montage of Albert being the perfect robot boy as he hangs out with Mae. A bit too early for a romantic montage but ah well. Actually, the pacing is a bit off here. I mean it didn’t’ even take 20 full minutes for all this stuff to happen, and we are now at the 35 minute mark.

But to be fair, I still got the general gist of the characters and I’m not lost, so I can roll with it.

Gabby thinks Albert is some guy working for the video game company. Of course someone as smart as her believes that very flawed theory. Of course Albert denies it and acts like the perfect robot boy he is, which just makes Gabby even more confused.

Bart calls her up for some other matter and when he tells her about Albert, he automatically assumes he is something they created for real. See, he gets it without a bullshit theory!

Anyway, we cut to later as Albert tries out for sports, and of course his robot powers make him amazing.

“Unbelievable!”

“More like unpossible”

Like Ralph failing English!

After that pointless bit, we get Albert and Mae being romantic and stuff. It’s here where Albert asks Mae to homecoming. Good for her, I guess.

Gabby doesn’t agree because she already thinks this boy is going to change their friendship. Looks like that pacing issue is back. Before they can argue some more, Albert sings something for Mae, because of course he does.

He sings “Love you like a love song”…which is a Selena Gomez song. That’s…surreal. Back at the Lab, they find out that some bad guys want to steal the robot weapon boy. They are baffled that someone could hack into their place into they remember that Dad has some tech in his house. The boss’s reaction to hearing this is priceless.

We cut to some bad guys sitting in a van outside the building, and of course they are foreigners. They know that their prize is outside and now they must try to find it. And now this is the most insanely awesome DCOM ever.

Gabby’s goes to Mae’s place as Bart discovers that Dad is indeed some government guy. They figure out that Gabby actually hacked the Pentagon and not a game company.

“I designed a highly mobile undetectable handsome wholesome speed reading ukulele playing dreamy eyed robot solider! …And I set him up with my best friend”

When you say it that way it sounds hilariously stupid. It also sounds like a forced trailer line when you say it that way.

The bad guys immediately storm in as our heroes hide in the closet. They trash the place, find some find, and leave. Of course, no one outside saw or heard them doing this.

But the government people are aware of the break in and almost immediately after the previous bit, tons of people, including Dad and the Boss storm in. Gabby and Bart come out and try to act like everything is okay. Dad claims that his pals are just consultants for a video game.

He expects them to buy that for some reason. Not sure how you will explain this to the neighbors who see them and likely know better.

“That is a bunch of-“

“Common sense!”

You know-for kids!

The bad guys are watching this from their van, as they now know about Albert and think the kids will lead them to him. Wait, no one is suspcipous of the evil black vans? And the bad guys thought it was a good idea to stick around when their enemy showed up?

Dad’s buddies leave and our dynamic duo heads to the Homecoming game because that is where Mae and Albert are. Wait, we’re up to Homecoming in some way already? That was fast. We’re up to 51 minutes now, by the way.

Gabby pulls Mae aside to tell her about all this stuff going on and while that is going on, the bad guys sneak in and one takes Albert aside. And when they are out of everyone’s sight, Albert kicks his ass.

It’s amazing and it makes for another good trailer moment!

Natrually, Mae doesn’t believe Gabby about the Robot thing, which I am mixed on. On one hand, that is a better explantions than their fake boy just randomly existing for no reason. But…since she has been looking for love for a while and Albert is so perfect, I can see why she’s not willingly to believe that he might not be perfect.

But we can all agree this is pretty cliché and forced, even by the standards of this cliché. Also, Gabby simply says “He’s a robot” and doesn’t go any deeper in the slightest, making this scene weird. Just tell her that full story!

Oh wait, then the movie would be over in like 5 minutes.

They argue a bit and eventually storm off. A bit later, after the game starts, the guy Albert attacked comes to and tells his friends about what happened. Because Albert can see them coming, they need some device that can shut the robot down from far away.

As a side note, I just noticed that Mae and Gabby’s nerd glasses are gone without explanation. It’s not major but it’s just…a thing I noticed. Anyway, Bart agrees with what I said and thinks it’s dumb that Gabby didn’t say that Albert is a freaking government experiment solider thing.

Speaking of Albert, A football player is out of commission and the coach asks him to fill in. Also, the Alpha Bitch is a cheerleader because of course she is.

Naturally, Albert does insanely well and helps them win the game. This is important because this team never wins. It’s so huge that a cop shows the video of the win to one of his partners. And yeah, the cop happens to be one called by the Government and thus they now know that their Robot Weapon is out and about.

Eh, I’ve some worse ways to get this kind of info out.

“We’ve found the prototype”

“And he’s dating my daughter”

Wah wah.

While the kids are doing their slow motion celebration dances, the bad guys come in to use their tech to shut down Albert, as the Government guys pop up as well.

Gabby takes this chance to tell Mae the full truth and the bad guys lose track of Albert. They are then captured. ….Lamest defeat ever. And yes, that is their defeat. We never see them again. LAAAAAME.

And that leads us the scene from the opening. The government guys have our heroes surrounded so they come out and reveal themselves. They are taken to the lab where the Boss guy gives us a recap.

“You hacked a Government network and stole a weapon so secret, congress doesn’t even know it exists. You hijacked a prized creation. The most advanced lab on Earth.”

If it’s so darn secret, why did you let a guy with a teenager daughter at home keep part of it there where someone could easily get to it? And I don’t think any of us are buying the fact that Gabby is so smart she could hack into all that. …Yeah, took me awhile to bring that up.

Also, remember this all happened because they thought he was a game guy and thus they were just making a fake computer program. So it’s kind of all your fault.

“But it’s clear your intentions were purely romantic. You didn’t want a high tech war machine. Just a Boy Toy. Take them home doctor”

…You’re not at all worried that a teenage girl was able to hack into your “Advanced” lab? Whatever. He says that Albert was rebooted, and he returned to his default mission: Saving the free world from danger.

So he’s off doing important things? Heh, cool, I think Mae will respect th-okay I can’t type that with a straight face. She doesn’t like this and The Boss guy says they can’t speak a word about any of this.

“Forget Albert Banks ever existed”

I’m not sure how you will cover this up but if Transformers 2 is any indication, I think you can do it somehow. And right after I say that they tell us that, yeah, they were able to cover it up by blaming some other guy. Okay.

As you can imagine, Mae isn’t exactly happy with this. Honey, you have to remember that you programmed him to be your perfect boy. Thus, he’s not an actual boy who loves you.

He’s faker than …well most fictional high school movie love interests. And that’s saying something!

“I can see that Albert is wire and metal, and microchips. But he is so much more than that. And it was like that from the first spark”

So our writers had 3 options: Make this a story where a girl realizes the difference between real love and fake love then forgets the boy, a story about how even fake robot love can become real, or a story where the girl and robot end up together with no one really caring that he’s fake.

Guess which one we’re going with.

Gabby doesn’t point THAT out, but instead says stuff that Mae can rebuttal. Would you believe we’re still not done yet, even though we should be?

We cut to the next day, as it is finally Homecoming, and Mae has to robot to cuddle up with. She still doesn’t have Jaden either. Oh wait, he still exists? Okay then you can get rid of Albert cuz she clearly has back up boy!

But of course, against all odds, Albert shows up. Mae doesn’t question anything and just heads in with him. But then suddenly, the Government guys show up.

“We knew his mission would lead him here, but we couldn’t let Mae warn him”

You had him, why couldn’t you had reprogrammed him like you claimed you did? And is this still going on?

“Albert will come peacefully if you let him finish his mission”

“You mean kissing your daughter?”

“…Yeah”

There are a lot of things in this movie that sounds hilariously stupid when you saw it out loud. This is one of them.

After some coaxing, The Boss guy backs down and says they will help Albert finish his mission. So now some government guys will help a teenage girl kiss a robot boy.

This movie is amazing.

Back at the dance, Naveeh, who exists again, isn’t happy that Albert’s back. She plans to tell everyone some kind of truth about Albert, and then Jaden dumps her. There was a transition, I’m just bad at summarizing.

It’s time to crown Homecoming Queen, and of course it’s Mae instead of the Alpha Bitch. …Because the Government Guys stuffed the Ballot box. Okay then.

Pissed off, Naveeh runs up and tells everyone that Albert is a machine. They take it figuratively so her plan fails. Wait, how did she figure this out anyway? She storms off and we never see her again.

What is with this movie and incredibly pointless villains with lame defeats?

Anyway, it turns out Jaden likes Mae but he was too afraid to admit it cuz everyone expected him to with someone like Naveeh. Okay that’s cool but people expected Mae to be with someone like Albert so…yeah.

Gabby apologizes to Mae for all the stuff that happened. They have a nice moment where they make up and yada yada yada. And now it’s time for some moonlight dance thing, where Mae and Albert finally have their moment that finishes his mission.

They have their nice moment …but Gabby notices see the army guys and thinks they will take Albert. But she backs off because Mae has “got this”. Okay.
They have their sweet little moment but before the kiss..

“I can’t”

Hmmm?

“I invented the idea of you, because I was hurt… I wasn’t brave enough to know that if he didn’t like me for me, that’s his problem. I only get one first kiss. I don’t know when it’s going to happen…”

Whoa, they actually realize everything I pointed out? That’s awesome! Score one for me and…about 50 for the Disney Channel.

Albert is fine with this but then she sees the Government guys.

“You know the Army was coming but you showed up anyway.”

“I had a mission…and now my work is done”

I must go back to my home Planet.

ALBERT DIED ON THE WAY BACK

So, what next?

“Initiate self destruct”

“Goodbye Mae”

That escalated quickly. And I think my Home Planet joke was true because he blasts off into space to blow up. And of course the kids all think this was a big show put on by the school. Sure, why not.

But…yeah that happened. Someone in a DCOM kind of died…sort of…I think .That’s…pretty weird. I’ll give them credit for realizing that fake robot love is dumb and having a semi mature moment. It’s nice.

The Government Boss guy is a bit chocked up over his ruined plans but he’ll be fine. Mae bumps into Jaden and they hit it off. Okay, so I spoke too soon when I bitched about the movie doing something different from what a normal writer would do.

Also, Gabby kind of hooked up with Bart. …Yeah he likes her, I didn’t mention that because it was pointless, and it still is.

So with everyone is happy and dances the night away. And of course, this is where the credits roll. How is that they dragged out the ending yet still made it abrupt? Ah well, still better than Cloud 9 in this regard.

Final Thoughts:

Well… that was…something. After a few rather dull DCOM’s, I wanted something as insane, fun, or just plain dumb as some of my “Favorites”. This…fits the bill. This has to be one of the craziest DCOM’s in a awhile.

And I loved it.

You know me, I love for this stuff, so how could I hate it? This movie is just full of insane stupidity from start to finish and it was so much fun. I’m pretty sure they knew they were making something dumb so they just did whatever the hell they wanted.

The premise alone gives us so many questions and the actual movie raises even more. People tend to find “offensive” in any DCOM so I wouldn’t take it too seriously if people bitched about this movie.

But to be fair, I couldn’t exactly blame them with the …stuff they bring up. But with the ending, I think they should kind of shut up. Before I move on, I should give them credit for somewhat touching on some deep themes. What “True love” means and all that.

In the end, Mae realizes that she created Albert and his love isn’t real. Thus, she pretty much lets him blow up. They could have just put them together or did something weird, but instead they did that. You gotta give them some credit.

True, they don’t go too deep into these themes so you could still bitch, but I don’t quite car. It’s a minor thing I honestly liked.

Now, this is a hard one to review for me cuz it’s so insane that I couldn’t talk about it like I do with other movies, by looking at the story and stuff. But I’ll try. The story is fairly cliché and of course a good amount of the clichés are rushed, from the friend’s arguing to the Alpha Bitch.

And it’s in mixed in with an insane concept that makes no sense in slightest. If you want to look at it critically, the story works okay sense it uses that concept to do some interesting things. Though it does a pacing problem, so everything moves too fast and a result, some plot points are rushed and become pointless.

As far as the main romance goes…it’s weird. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to buy it as a normal romance. I don’t, because they don’t flesh out very well and Albert is just a robot with little personality, and only does what does because he was told to.

But the emotion kind of helps it. Given the position Mae is in, I did kind of feel bad for her and see why she stuck with him. This has some honest emotion in it so I have to give it credit where credit is due.

And while it is sort of predictable, I did like the ending. Hey, with how it was going, I figured they wouldn’t address some of the stuff I brought up. As a whole, the story and the movie itself is everything you expected it to be.

You can’t be mad so it’s so stupid and insane. But deep in this craziness I do some effort put into this, like all DCOM’s. But with the ending, I especially see this. Oh, and in case you still wonder, I do think this is one of the more enjoyable Paul Hoen directed ones. It’s got enough energy and emotion to make it fine.

It may not be as crazy as I make it sound, but given the concept and execution, it’s one of the weirder ones I’ve reviewed. Character wise, it’s what I expected. Only the leads do anything while the others are pointless.

But as far as leads go, they were okay. I thought the actors did a decent with China getting some funny lines. They aren’t the most interesting, but Gabby learns a nice lesson and honestly, I started to like Mae by the end.

They did a good job at making us see where she’s coming from and that helps make the ending work. And honestly, her acting was a lot better than I expected. Not that I think she’s bad, it’s just better than normal.

The rest, like I said, are just there. Bart is kind of annoying, and the Dad is just there to start the plot. But if it helps, I thought Dad and the Government people were a lot of fun with their over the top reactions. Albert is just…there for obvious reason. Jaden is there, and Naveeh was really disappointing.

When she is onscreen, she’s fun but she’s given little to do. She’s there to start the plot and that’s it. The actor helps make her fun but if she given as much screen time as the chick in Zapped, then she would have been a lot better.

Overall, this is another fun Guilty Pleasure DCOM. It has an insane premise and the execution is so dumb that it was a lot to fun to make fun of it. On top of that, it had some nice heart and decent acting.

If you’re like me and like mocking dumb DCOM’s and don’t find them painful, you’ll dig the hell out of it. But if you follow me, you’ve decided if you like my appreciation of them or not, so I don’t care.

Grade: B

Yeah, I’ll ditch the spate grades and just combine them from now on.

Next time, we’re going back a bit for a sequel no one asked for. That narrows it down, eh?

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
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