Ready for friendship, dancing and slightly ungrateful teens who learn the value of teamwork? Then look no further than Gotta Kick It Up!
Aired: July 16, 2002
Directed by Ramón Menéndez
Starring: America Ferrera, Camille Guaty & Susan Egan
Run Time: 1h 24m
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age, Dance
Synopsis: After their coach retires, a group of young girls fear their dancing dreams are dashed. But when the new biology teacher steps in, the girls find themselves strutting their stuff all the way to the championships.
We’re back, baby! After an unintentional 6 month hiatus, I am back and ready to watch more DCOMs! And what better way to get back into it than with Gotta Kick It Up!
MAJOR PLOT POINTS:
A group of 9th grade girls with a passion for dance find their hopes and dreams of competing crushed when their former coach retires. But things turn around when they discover that the new biology teacher, Ms. Bartlett, has a background in dance. And with plenty of begging, the girls convince her to be their coach. With the addition of Daisy, a rebellious girl who only joined the team to get out a detention, the girls find themselves working together and busting a move all the way to regionals.
Q: What’s one of the best things about Disney Channel Original Movies, you may ask?
A: The short run time. I tried watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League and saw that it was 4 hours long (I kid you not) and gave up after 30 mins. I’m not here for that. I’m also not here for DC (Marvel fan all the way), but that’s a story for another blog post.
Q: Why are these teens so rude?
A: I know, I know. I was once it high school and I know kids are mean. But these kids are just plain rude and disrespectful to their teachers. The only way Principal Zalvada can get their attention is if he treats them like they’re his own personal military cadets. Maybe a little time with Cadet Kelly will teach them some manners. (God, I think my 30’s are showing)
Q: Anyone else find their old uniforms to be way cuter than the new ones?
A: The old uniforms have so much more style and pizzaz than the new ones. The new ones are very “high school sports team” and pretty basic. I would have liked to see them compete at Regionals with the flashier uniforms.
I have two words for you: America Ferrera. America Ferrara, who plays Yolanda, is one of my favorites actors. She’s been in iconic roles like Ugly Betty, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and one of my favorite comedies Superstore (which is sadly coming to an end next week!). She is seriously the best.
Camille Guaty, who plays Daisy, has since been in numerous tv shows like Prison Break, Las Vegas and most recently, The Good Doctor. (You know what show I wish was streaming somewhere? Las Vegas. I used to watch that show every afternoon in college).
Like Guaty, Susan Egan, who plays Ms. Bartlett, has also been around the tv circuit but is mainly doing voice work. Her most recent credit notes her as voicing several characters on the popular animated series Steven Universe.
Honorable mention goes to Gina Gallego who played Alyssa’s mom. I immediately recognized her as the cleaning woman on Seinfeld who was obsessed with the cashmere sweater George Costanza gives her.
The funniest thing about watching these movies is how they can unintentionally date themselves. Every time Ms. Bartlett said “Dot.com job” I cracked up. Girl, it’s called a website. You worked for a website. Which is also funny because that’s literally what I do right for a profession.
One thing that I find interesting about this movie is the pacing. It felt like things happened way too quickly. For example, when they attend their very first meet and completely botch the entire performance. That was only 30 mins into the film. They had already lost their old coach, found a new one, formed a new team (with lots of drama), learned a new routine and completely failed within those first 30 mins. Everything after that felt like proper pacing, however. They find out that Mrs. Bartlett won’t let them compete at the mid-point and hit a roadblock while trying to get to regionals by the beginning of the 3rd act. For some reason, it was just the set up that felt rushed. But this could also be due to the fact that this movie is only 90 mins long. The plot does have to happen a lot faster since they quite literally don’t have much time.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It’s not only of my favorites, but I have come to appreciate it. I’ve seen plenty of dance-centric films like Bring it On and Step Up, but they’re not usually the movies I gravitate toward. But this is one of the few DCOMs (and films in general) with an almost entirely latina/latino cast (with Spanish spoken throughout). It centers mostly on women and young girls and is all about empowerment, friendship and following your dreams. All important and powerful messages for young people.
If you truly want something, you have to be the one to make it happen. You can’t just sit around waiting for things to happen to you. It’s your life and you have to be the one to act. Just remember: Sí Se Puede!
Up Next: A Ring of Endless Light