Hello, Spongey here.
Well, it’s scene by scene review time again. This time it’s for that year tradition: My brother’s birthday. Yep, as you recall, each year since 2013 I’ve done a review of his choice and I won’t let a chance in schedule change that.
This year, he picked yet another DCOM. One I planned to review, to the point where I kind of wrote the intro last year, but had to can it when I couldn’t find the film at the time. (Now I have it on my DVR along with a majority of the films they showed in the big 100 DCOM Marathon. Woo hoo).
Some of the intro will still be here, btw, I saved it. He had more choices than usual since I had more ideas, so it’s interesting he picked this, mostly since I kind of had to it.
It’s the last of the DCOM’s based on Disney Sitcoms.I know I said we covered all of them, but I was referring to the official Disney sitcoms. There’s two shows based off of semi popular Disney Channel shows we still gotta cover, but only one is a DCOM and the other wasn’t on the list cuz I forgot.
This film happens to be based on Even Stevens. For those who need the exposition, straight from a wikpedia this was a show that followed the life of the Stevenses, a family living in suburban Sacramento, California, mainly focusing on the clashing personalities of its two younger siblings, Ren and Louis, played by some guy who’s not famous and Kim Possible.
As side note, I will not make any cracks about Shia in this review, because that’s been done.
Anyway, this was a fairly well known show, and I’ll say up front that I’ve only seen a few episodes. However, I’ve seen enough here and there to know what the show is mostly like. I have a decent feel of the characters, so I won’t be completely lost at least.
From what I saw, it’s an alright show. It’s fairly funny and it’s got plenty of charm. It’s not the best show ever, but it’s good. Plus, that musical episode was awesome.
It was popular, so of course it got a movie in 2003. I have no idea what people think of it (aside from how TV Trash doesn’t like it), so we’ll see how it goes. I’ll be mostly judging it on its own so any dumb fan complaints you have can be left at the door. Since writing this intro last year, I watched the film to do the review so I know how it is, but shut up.
The writers here are two guys who have worked on the show, and went on to create Corey in the House, of all things. The director is the brilliant man who brought us Bratz the movie!
…And also The Suite Life movie. Please be more like the latter.
So with that out of the way, let’s see how they made a movie out of this show.
This, is The Even Stevens Movie
The movie opens with a guy sitting at a computer doing stuff until he selects the Stevens family, which gives us our title. We won’t be seeing the details on this for quite a while, sorry..
We truly begin at Ren’s Graduation as Ren is giving her Valedictorian speech. To the surprise of no one, Louis is looking to sabotage her. The prank amounts to distracting her with a beach ball or something. I never heard he was particularly clever.
There is more to it, as he planed to dumped Confetti on everyone, but Beans messed up and it ‘s Spaghetti instead. I’m not too familiar with Beans in the show but based on this movie alone, I assume he’s rightfully hated.
Louis is fine with the Spaghetti thing, which kind of makes the mistake pointless. Everyone is mad but he isn’t Summer School for this or anything like that. Jokes aside, this nicely sets up the conflict between Louis and Ren which is a focal point of the story, sort of.
They just kind of brush this off and we move on to Ren meeting up with her boyfriend Gil. To kick Ren further, Gil is going to Maine for the Summer and also he’s dumping her. For pretty no reason.
He says he doesn’t wanna be tied down or whatever. He’s basically a dick for no real reason. I have no idea if he was even in the show, so who knows if this that big of a problem.
“You dump me in a pancake house and you wonder if I’m upset?”
At least this Gill isn’t turning into a fish creature. …Hey, you know I had to make one Kim Possible reference.
She storms and tells Mom what happened. So far I feel way more for Ren than the actual main character of the series. Speaking of which, Louis has made a high tech lounge chair to hang out in all Summer. Also, one of his friends is the main guy from You Wish!
After that riveting scene is over, Beans shows up as his parents have dumped him here for the Summer. I guess they tolerate as much as we do. Seriously, he serves no real purpose in the film other than to be mildly annoying.
After a few minutes of boring filler, Tim Medows comes in, to show them a presentation, aka the plot. Yeah, it took us 17 minutes to get us the plot. It may not seen like that much but I skimmed over minor filler, and since nothing that’s happened as been too interesting, the wait feels like too much.
Miles tells them they won a vacation to the uncharted but awesome island of Manelino. Yes, there is a twist to this but you’ll have to wait even longer to get to it, unless you’ve seen the Trailer.
He tells them there’s no catch and they can just sign up. Louis doesn’t want to go a tropical island because reasons. He finds out there’s no modern conveniences, but he don’t wanna go before he hears that.
“I guess it’s unanimous, we’re going to Madelino!”
And with that, we’re off. They land on Madelino where the natives are happy to meet them. They put special focus on Ren meeting a guy named Mootai. Gee, I wonder if he’s gonna be a bland love interest.
After they check out their rooms, they head out to have a montage set to an early 2000’s pop song. Which of course means it’s by Aaron Carter.
After that, Donnie thinks he recognizes one of the natives as one of his hold class mates, which of course they shrug off. Foreshadowing! Actually, that’s decenly done since they don’t beat you over the head with it. After a moment with Mootai, the family is invited to eat a gross island delicacy because comedy. Tim Meadows tells Louis they have real food hidden in the palace pantry which turns out to be true.
It also has something which opens a secret door which literally says Forbidden on it. I can’t see this going wrong at all, especially with Louis involved. The door leads to a fancy looking room with a cool throne.
But of course, sitting in it causes something bad to happen, which in this case is the entire palace collapsing. The natives are….angry to say the least. This is all Miles fault for telling him about something which leads there, but at this point no one’s gonna believe Louis if he says that…which he never does, for some reason.
Also, we pretty much just got here and Louis majorly screwed up. Shouldn’t we spend more than a montage before they get screwed over like this? But the concept is good, testing for patience for Louis, in a situation where he could possibly grow or something. Spoilers, that only kind of happens.
With that, the family is on their own and has to make their own shelter. We get an interesting moment between Ren and Louis as she bitches at him for what he did, and get some insight into his character.
“Sorry I’m not perfect like you. ..You have perfect grades, perfect behavior, a perfect life”
“You don’t know what’s going on in my life”
“So you had a little boyfriend trouble, boo hoo”
See, this is some interesting character insight here, which spoilers, we don’t quite get enough of. Even here they just kind of brush it off.
A bit later, Miles tells them if they apologize to the Island Elders, they could clear everything up. But apologizes must be made of groups of 3, meaning the whole famiily can’t do at once. That doesn’t sound suspicious at all!
First up is Donnie, Mom, and Louis. They apologizes and before they get the results from the gods, they must feast. Feasting with the people you currently hate is a bit weird. Oh, and I forgot to mention only these 3 people were told of this entire deal, as the others are away waitng from the others to come back.
Again, not suspicious at all. How are Beans, Dad, and Ren doing anyway?
BEANS: Wanna go skinny dipping?
…Uh….so Ren goes out to see what’s going on. She bumps into Mootai and they another moment. It’s kind of cute even though he’s still kind of bland. He does a reason which we’ll get into soon enough.
Mootai tells her about the feast without mentioning the apology thing, which is quite convenient for causing trouble between the 2 groups. Don’t worry, the reasoning for this suspicious will make sense when you find out what it is. After the feast, the leader asks the gods to forgive the family and apparently they say no, for some reason.
And now, no one on the island can interact with them. To make it worse, the next plane won’t be here for 7 days. This family just can’t catch a break, can they? At least there’s a reason which I’m getting to. They go back to their shelter as tensions are now rising.
This is interesting and all, but since they got shunned, the fact that they feasted clearly is a moot point now. And now we finally find out why their luck is bad. See, as it turns out, this entire situation with the island is actually a reality show called Family Fakeout.
Yep. I have slightly mixed feelings. This mostly works, as it explains pretty much everything and is a good concept in itself. However…we’re now about 44 minutes in. It took us 44 minutes to start the actual plot.
I know you need to give us time to get used to the island but since things are kind of dull, it just makes the wait worse. Especially this is where the movie starts to get interesting. It shouldn’t take this long to get interesting.
But otherwise, this is an interesting idea, making fun of reailty shows like this. Does it go anywhere? Mostly yes, but it’s not perfectly done and we’ll get to why as we go along. Some clunky exposition tells us all of this, including how Louis friends at some point told them about the family.
They make a deal out of this, but we never see them talk to Miles, so how do I know of it they had reasonable motivations for doing this or whatnot?
Usually I would wonder how a show like this can even function without outcry but given what we have on, this isn’t too implausible. This show is even popular, as we see a bit of people watching it, at home and at the diner.
“Isn’t life funny when it’s not happening to you?”
I love how over the top douche-y Miles is.
To recap, the family is now trapped on an island where everyone hates them, with no modern convinces, and half of the family hates the other half. Now this is an interesting situation, and the best parts of the movie involve all this crazy-ness going on, as they are pitted against each other and put through hell.
The next day, they are woken up by Beans farting. Lovely. Dad’s half of the family bumps into Miles, who says emergency food is coming in but it “accidentally” lands far away from them.
Dad has been out of for awhile and Mom has been bringing home the bacon so to speak, and Miles takes advantage of this by convincing him to not tell Mom about this since Dad can bring them food on his own. Again, stuff like this makes the movie pretty interesting.
And yeah, even when I watch movie beforehand I won’t get too much to say. There’s not a ton to mock since the movie is either just interesting, or kind of dull. Miles tells Mom’s half about the food drop which naturally heats things up further. We cut to them arriving at the drop place but find that the food has been eaten, and the other half finds the same thing.
Right after, Miles tells us about the whole plan like we couldn’t figure it out on our own. Back at home, Louis’ friends find out that “Mandelino” is just an island only a bit off the coast, meaning they could go there and save them.
So this they are able to grab a boat and head out. I guess they have no parents to object to this. The family meets up and is pretty angry at each other for supposedly stealing the food. With that, they finally split up for good.
“Looks like things are getting personal, and interesting”
Agreed. Thank you for making a comment for me! We finally get back to Mootai, who we know is just an actor put there to eventually give Ren further heartbreak. If you guessed that he’s starting to like Ren, you’d be right.
Spoilers, doesn’t quite go anywhere.
The people at home get to vote on if they think Ren will let Mootai kiss her, and we witness an epic shipping war. Which is pretty funny. Kind of surprised they are letting her say no, although not kissing her is making her less happy so…i guess I answered my own question.
We see “Mootai” on set a bit later as he’s having doubts about all this, especially when he’s told to dump her after he gets a kiss. This is one of the more interesting bits in this whole situation…and it goes nowhere, sort of.
Louis’ friends find the island but a big wave strands the female one away from the You Wish one. The You Wish kid is found by the show crew and trap him in a trailer so he can’t find the Stevens’ family.
I wonder what they are gonna do with him when the show is over. Just saying, he has parents to get back to (I think) and him vanishing isn’t gonna look good.
The next day, the two sides try to fend for themselves, and Beans pissed in their fire. At this point, I officially dislike him. Ren gets pissed and goes to Mootai. Ren finally decides to him in a rather nice moment, as intentionally fake as it is.
This causes Mootai to break character and start to admit he’s fake. Miles is having none of this, and sends the “Natives’ out to stop them. The leader even tells Ren Loius told them about Ren and Mootai to distract her.
Anger tends to take over logic, you see. Just look at any comments section!
You Wish kid somehow breaks out of the trailer and sabotages the crew so that the show gets knocked off the air. Female Friend wakes up and bumps into Donnie, and they talk it out before heading to find the family.
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad rather quickly sort things out and seem to be calmer now. Wish we had an actual big moment with this but whatever. They do actually manage to put 2 and 2 together once they talk it out and see Miles claims to both sides seem to clash.
Hey, smart people exist in DCOM’s after all. They conveniently bump into Female Friend and Donnie at this point and find out the whole story. In the middle this, there’s a bit of Miles angrily firing people for no reason. It’s funny I guess, also insert obvious joke here.
You Wish kid appears and tells them that he sold them out. They brush that off to focus on the more important thing going on here. So him selling them out is ultimately a wasted plot point.
The crew gets back on air and we rejoin Ren as she out to kill Loius. Ren going savage is like the best part of this whole thing. Yet I’m just wondering if the show will be sued if she does manage to hurt Louis in some way.
“You ruined my life!”
“The day you were born”
Her delivery makes that really creepy.
Ren gives chase and they end up near a cliff. Miles…actually thinks about what I said, and goes out to stop Ren before she kills Louis. Wow, more logic! He tells them the natives forgive them but Ren is too far gone.
The family catches up but she won’t listen to them either. She pushes him off and he falls to his death,. ..Well, that was a dark ending. So that was-
okay, it’s not the end, nor does he die. It turns that was a giant prank on Miles, doing for a competing show called Gotcha! The show was established earlier but I forgot to mention it, whoops.
This prank itself is pretty awesome, and a cool way to get back at him, but how the heck did they set this all up? There’s so many reasons this makes no sense, but I wanna get this over with.
“You see Miles, we may argue sometimes, but it takes a lot more than a cheesy tv show to rip this family apart”
Then they…explain how they did it.
“When we found Ren, she had Louis trapped in a tree…when we told the kids it was a set up, they aside their differences and we all came up with this little charade”
….Crap, this movie just randomly got smart. They even say that the friends called Gotcha, although I wonder how they got here and set this up so fast. So it makes sense, but only barely. Still, a decent climax to be honest.
A bit later, Ren and Louis have a moment where they apologize for what happened. It’s very nice, even I wanted more of stuff like this. Oh, and Mootai, who is actually named Jason, appears to resolve that stuff.
Ren just…immediately forgives him for what he did. Come on, she’s not gonna try to murder this guy too? They have a moment and she leaves. Glad one of the most interesting elements amounted to bland love stuff.
With that, the family finally leaves the island for good. Then we narration that serves as a “Where are they now” segment….from Beans. Great. Dad got a new job, Louis went back to doing nothing of interest, Jason came over and now he and Ren are together for real. And Beans still exists.
And of course, the story ends with them arguing…and a pop song by Chrsity Carlson Ramono because hey, no DCOM is complete without a song by the main female star! A fine enough ending I suppose, despite the writing problems that exist.
Well, that’s about it, let’s end this.
Eh, that was alright. It’s far from Trash, but I can’t help but feel it’s missing…something. To be fair, I think the main problem is that maybe the show wasn’t meant for a movie like this. But Suite Life managed to make a decent flick so that may not be it.
The show wasn’t known for anything big or deep, but you could explore more in a film than they did. As interesting as the plot concept is, it would be more fitting for a TV Episode, because as it is, they drag it out.
The biggest problem is that the film is …kind of boring. Not hugely so, but still a bit boring. The few episodes of the show I’ve seen had a lot more energy and the actors were allowed to get a big bigger.
We get spurts of being very interesting, but it doesn’t quite go all the way. Story-wise, some things are kind of half baked. Mootai shows this perfectly. His deal is an interesting one, as he ‘s faking being in love with Ren, while being unsure about this whole situation.
But in the end, after he tries to tell her, we just get that small scene and that’s it. No further exploitation of his character or anything like that. Speaking of characters, why is Ren pretty much the main character?
She gets all the big emotional development, while Louis is just kind of there. They develop together but not much for Louis. I may not have seem much of the show, but I know it was mostly about him, and heck, the Hunnkah episode had development for him.
On the bright side, it’s mostly harmless. The nice moments do get do show the heart it has, and the concept is a really cool one. I like how it makes fun of reality shows, and the climax was kind of awesome.
It can be quite interesting, but it’s mostly just…there. I’m not sure what the problem is, what went wrong, or if anything went wrong. I just know this could have been very good when it’s just…alright.
If you’re not too demanding, both fans and regular people can enjoy this, since it’s never painful (aside from Beans..) but if you want something a lot more interesting and complete, you may have to look elsewhere.
It’s weird how this is the weakest of the Sitcom DCOMs, even if has less big flaws than some of them, but there you go. It’s not bad or anything, just kind of okay. Has enough interesting parts to be kind of worth watching, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again or anything like that.
Yeah, that was a weaker review. The kind of boring things are the worst to review, but I had to do this, because I gotta cover the Sitcom DCOM’s. And also my brother asked for it. Happy Birthday once again.
Maybe next year we’ll get another Camp Rock 2 and not another this in terms of stuff to talk about. As for next scene by scene review…well that’s in October, which means it’s time for the Halloween reviews.
I’ll explain how they’ll work around early October when I post the first review. As for what it is…eh, let’s get Mostly Ghostly 3 out of the way.