Saturday, January 13, 2007

Corbin Bleu and KeKe Palmer Push Disney Channel to the Limit

If the advertisements for "Jump In!" are any indication, Disney Channel is hoping for another "High School Musical" success. Although it remains to be seen whether the film will become the phenomenon of its predecessor, inspiring concerts and merchandise, "Jump In" has at least two things going for it-- it is far more entertaining and the characters are far less annoying.

The movie, which premiered on Friday, January 12 (and will probably be playing every weekend until "High School Musical 2" premieres), stars Corbin Bleu (the only tolerable actor from "High School Musical") and KeKe Palmer ("Akeelah and the Bee"). Bleu plays Izzy, a boxer trying to make his father (David Reivers, Bleu's real life dad) proud. When Mary (Palmer) and her double-dutch team lose one of their members, they ask Izzy to step in, and he learns that not only is he as talented with the jump ropes as he is in the boxing ring, but he loves it as well.

The story is not unfamiliar territory for the Disney Channel. A boy interested in "girly" activities and being teased for it was the subject of "Eddie's Million Dollar Cook-Off." But "Jump In" is making baby steps toward breaking ground. First of all, the film features an inter-racial couple, one of whom is a female boxer. Also, for perhaps the first time in Disney Channel film, the bully is multi-dimensional. The audience gets to see how his troubled home life affects his personality. He even redeems himself in the end.

What really sets "Jump In!" apart from the most recent Disney Channel films and places it in a class with the highlights of years past is co-stars who you can care about (i.e. who you don't want to punch in the face). Bleu plays Izzy's arrogance with charm that doesn't feel fake. Plus he has great hair. Palmer is a perfect match for Bleu, playing her Mary with equal parts attitude and vulnerability.

For a movie about musicals, the singing and dancing in "High School Musical" was vomit-enducing. In "Jump In!," the jumping is captivating and professional. The actors had to master tricks such as push ups and flips while jumping rope. The soundtrack, featuring adrenaline-pumping sports-arena style songs by Bleu and Palmer (Disney Channel never misses a chance for future recording stars), adds to the excitement in those scenes.

"Jump In!" is not a masterpiece, but compared to the recent disappointments, it is a big step for the Disney Channel. Now if only I can convince them to cancel "High School Musical 2."

1 comment:

mara said...

corbin you are so cute but i'm not goona take keke's man lol!you are so a cute couple.