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Featured DVD / TV on DVD Review: Geek Charming / Shake It Up!

February 5th, 2012

Geek Charming / Shake It Up! - Buy from Amazon

It's a little hard to describe this DVD release. It's for the TV movie Geek Charming. However, the extras including ten episodes of Shake It Up!, which are more episodes than most Tween TV on DVD releases have. So is this a TV movie release with a TV show as extras? Or is it a TV on DVD release with a TV movie as an extra? Are either of them worth checking out?

Geek Charming

We are introduced to Dylan Schoenfield in a dream sequence. She's dreaming of winning the Blossom Queen, which she figures will propel her to the top as the most popular kid in the history of Woodlands Academy. Her and her two friends, Lola and Hannah, traverse the cafeteria counting votes. Her only real competition is from Nicole Paterson. Her triumphant tour ends with a run in with Josh Rosen. Josh is one of the Film Geeks and is in love with Amy Loubalu, who was Dylan's best friend till Dylan got popular and she was dumped. Josh has been in love with her since third grade, but still hasn't worked up the courage to ask her out.

But for now, Josh doesn't have time for romance, he only has six weeks to finish his student film in order to get it into the Puget Sound Film Festival. If he wins, he gets to spend the summer in Hollywood and a film camp. However, he has one small problem... he has no idea what his documentary will be about. He gets his inspiration after an incident in the mall and decides to make a movie about Dylan Schoenfield and her run for Blossom Queen. Despite her hatred for Josh, she can't pass up an opportunity for free publicity and agrees. While it could be a winning documentary, he almost immediately regrets his plan, as Dylan is beyond high maintenance. It isn't long before there's a blow-up between the two and they try to fire each other.

Of course, Josh realizes that no Dylan means no film. And of course, if there's no film, there can't be a blossoming romance between the two.

That's not really a spoiler. Although maybe it could be for the target audience, 'Tween girls, as they probably hasn't seen a whole lot of romantic comedies. It does have more than a few clich├ęs from the genre sprinkled it, including a fashion makeover montage. It did have some parts that helped it stand out. For instance, Sarah Hyland brought more to the character of Dylan Schoenfield that we'd normally get in these films. We see she's not a diva all the time and she's actually quite an emotionally deep character. She and Matt Prokop do have good chemistry in the show, while many of the supporting actors (Sasha Pieterse, Kacey Rohl, David Del Rio, Jimmy Bellinger) add to the overall charm.

Frankly, I was expecting an aggressively Tween movie without crossover appeal. But Geek Charming is better than I was anticipating. It's better than many romantic comedies aimed at adults.

Speaking of aggressively Tween...

Shake It Up!

Shake It Up! stars Bella Thorne and Zendaya as two 13-year old girls. They are best friends and dancers on a show called Shake it Up, Chicago. Bella plays CeCe Jones, the impulsive one, while Zendaya plays Rocky Blue, the more sensible one. They have to deal with competitive dancers on the show, Gunther and Tinka Hessenheffer, and a clueless boss, Gary Wilde, while trying to become breakout stars in the world of dance. Like every such show, they need an annoying younger brother, Flynn Jones, brother of CeCe, while Ty Blue is Rocky's cool older brother. (CeCe and Rocky's mothers are also in the show, barely.) Finally there's Deuce Martinez, CeCe and Rocky's best friend. He's a bit of a conman and player.

I am clearly not in the target demographic for this show. That said, I've seen enough of these shows so I can fit them into a hierarchy of direct competitors from the past and present. It's not as good as Hannah Montana, but better than The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or The Jonas Brothers. It's about on par with Victorious. The characters are too quirky, the annoying side characters are really annoying, the B-plots are mostly forgettable, and the laugh track needs to be toned down. This is, unfortunately, par for the course for most Tween shows. Bella Thorne and Zendaya do have a lot of energy and that does help carry the show and that could be enough for the target demographic, especially if they like dancing.

The Extras

The episodes are considered extras. Also, the two-disc set does come with a matching set of charm.

The Verdict

Geek Charming turned out to be better than expected and is a satisfying romantic comedy for Tweens. It isn't breaking any new ground, but offers a reliable story done with better acting and more emotional depth. Shake It Up! should please young girls who are into dancing, but this show's crossover appeal is much more limited. The Two-Disc DVD is really good value if you like both the movie and the TV show, while it is probably worth picking up, even if you like one and hate the other.

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