Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wish Upon a Star

Hey Internet, I'm Blinvy and once again you've entered my Teenage Wasteland.

There are many things that upset the life of a teenager, like parents, homework, chores, work but one of the biggest, hellish and most frustrating struggle a teen must face is insecurity.

Insecurity, what a distasteful word, the mere mention of it sends me into the black pit of despair that is the memory of my teenhood. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about, that feeling that you are not good enough, you are not fit enough or pretty enough or that you are not good enough to be noticed by anyone. Don't deny it, I'm sure you've all felt the bitter sting of insecurity. We all have and I'm including the people who you thought were extremely confident on that list too. Yes, even her:

She thinks that thing on her face needs fixing.
You know, that thing on her face? Is she the only
 one that's noticed that thing?

The thing is, we all feel insecure about ourselves because we are all our own worst critics. It doesn't matter who tells you that you are pretty and worth while, you will always look at someone else and wish you could be them because life would be so much easier; which brings me to today's movie: Wish upon a Star.

Yeah that's right, we're going into the 90s, Disney Style!
What, you've never heard of Wish Upon a Star? The made for TV movie that stars that kid from the Halloween franchise and the girl alien from Roswell as sisters? No? Well, you're in for a treat.

I first saw Wish Upon a Star on TV many years ago and I have to admit that this is a guilty pleasure for me and it stands up pretty well, 90s fashion and dated Valley Girl stereo type aside. It is a cute and fun little movie that never fails to make me smile. With that said, it also remained ingrained in my mind because I was absolutely shocked at some of the things included in this movie. One scene in particular made even my younger self exclaim "This is a Disney movie?" but I'll get to that later.

The movie begins the way every 90s movie about teen girls began, with clips of Alexia Wheaton (Katherine Heigl's character) getting ready for school and picking out a stylish outfit. Downstairs, her sister Hayley (Danielle Harris of Halloween 4 and 5 fame) and her parents are already up, ready and eating breakfast.

OMG, Like this totally hasn't been done before!

Despite the fact that the "girl getting ready" intro has been overused, it is a pretty nice way to introduce and set up the characters. Just from this little clip, we know everything we need to know about this family: Alexia cares deeply about her looks, Hayley cares about school and science and their parents are really into psychology, a fact that does come into play in this movie.

It's Alexia Wheaton, bitch.

So Alexia finally comes down in her brand new outfit and I'm not going to lie, when I was younger, I adored that outfit. Heck, I still think it looks cute and really isn't that bad in the long run. It's obviously a way outdated outfit now and is streets behind the risque outfits some kids these days are wearing, heck it's even behind an outfit we'll see later in the movie (Why yes, I am going to be teasing this outfit a lot), but the Mom thinks it's too revealing. Yeah just wait until later, Mom (...ok, ok I'll stop teasing it.) Anyways, she thinks she should stop her daughter from going out in public like that but the dad stops her because he thinks that the more they tell her not to dress provocatively, the more she pushes the boundaries. From there they both come up with the idea to not parent their kids and stop giving them rules for the kids to challenge because they can't challenge rules if there aren't any, right? Right? This should work out well.

Anyways, the girls head off to school where Hayley is once again late and Alexia makes out with her boyfriend. Get it? Because one is smart and one is dumb. Alexia also fakes a doctors note to get out of gym class because sweat is like sooo not hot! Besides, she has to look her best when she goes to meet the Principal to suck up for a recommendation for college because her grades sure aren't going to get her a letter.

No, Alexia, she will not consider it but hey, at least you look good! 

Hayley is not 100% innocent either, she may be book smart and have a future ahead of her but she secretly wishes she were like her beautiful sister. So much so, that she sneaks into her sister's room with her friend so that they can read her diary and try on her clothes (and, if I'm being 100% honest again, I would totally do the same thing if Alexia were my sister, those clothes are cute!) Most of all, Hayley covets Alexia's boyfriend and she imagines what it's like to be so in love and to kiss him. She believes that Alexia has probably gone all the way with him already.

All of these emotions come to the forefront as Hayley is doing her astronomy homework and spies her sister in the hot tub with her boyfriend. Really watch this scene, it's quite the good set up for later.

When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are...

Of course, as we all know, wishing upon a star does not really work. I mean, if it did I would have ten billion dollars right now, a mansion and I'd be able to eat anything I wanted while maintaining a figure like Alexia's with little to no effort but this is a Disney movie, people. Believe!

Is it weird that her sister wants to touch her boobs?

Desperate, Alexia/Hayley tries to force Hayley/Alexia to make another wish to switch them back. She even brings her a birthday cake, *tsk* silly Alexia, birthday candle wishes only work on your actual birthday, duh! When even tossing pennies in a toilet (pretending it's a wishing well) doesn't work, they decide to go through a day as each other and find another shooting star that night.

Naturally, Hayley/Alexia is stoked. She gets to be her popular sister for a day and more importantly, live out her fantasy of what it must be like to date Alexia's popular basketball boyfriend, Kyle. Except that, (whoops!) Alexia dumped his ass after the hot tub and called him a sick little puppy. Why? Because her friends and her have made up stupid rules and there is a three month max on boyfriends. I guess they really want to make sure they get through as many guys as possible during high school. Anyways, Hayley/Alexia is horrified and goes to talk to Kyle. After apologizing profusely, Kyle takes her back and they proceed to make out.

Alexia/Hayley in the meantime, is having trouble getting through a pop quiz that Hayley's teacher is giving so she fakes ill so she can spend the day at home, pampering herself. She gets it pretty easy today but her day of rest is soon disturbed when she learns what Hayley/Alexia has been doing as her. Hayley has ruined Alexia's nails and worst of all, she has shown up at home with a hickey on her neck courtesy of Kyle. Fearing that her sister will ruin her reputation, Alexia/Hayley demands that Hayley/Alexia reverse the wish immediately. Only one problem:

Oh no she didn't! *snap**snap*

And thus, the most entertaining part of the movie has begun. The girls are at odds with one another and are in each others bodies, what are they going to do next? Well, it's the moment you've all been waiting for! Day two: the bitch strikes back and how does Alexia/Hayley get back at Hayley/Alexia? Well, by completely trashing her reputation in kind and how she goes about this just completely blows my mind considering it's a Disney film, the most wholesome of entertainment producers. Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you without further ado, the most awesome thing you will ever see in a Disney movie:

Holy shit!

I mean, really? Are you seeing this? Am I the only one shocked? That is a fucking dominatrix outfit, complete with whip! Point Alexia/Hayley, Hayley's reputation is going down! Oh, the parents? Yeah, they're doing that whole free reign thing so they're like totally cool with it and besides, they say that Alexia has worn this out before. Huh, I guess this 'no rules' thing isn't new.

Oh, ok that explains it...except no it doesn't! 

Yeah, they use "Halloween costume" as an excuse to why she had such an outfit but I call shenanigans. What kind of parent lets their sixteen year old daughter wear an outfit like that out of the house, even on Halloween? What kind of costume was it supposed to be? S&M superstar? But lets just pretend that they did let Alexia wear this on Halloween and this is why they are going to let their 14 year old daughter wear it to school. Ooooook...

Hayley/Alexia is furious that her sister is going to make her look like a porn star so she hits Alexia where it will hurt the most, her appearance. What does she do? She *gasp!* wears the same outfit as she did yesterday and doesn't shower!

Hayley, sweetie? Your sister is
better at revenge than you

The girls head to school, each determined to wreck each others' reputations as much as possible. It actually gets pretty vicious, with Alexia/Hayley purposely flubbing Hayley's make up test so she'll get a bad grade and then writing that "Hayley Wheaton is a wench!" on the girl's bathroom wall and Hayley/Alexia returning the favour by crossing out "Hayley" and writing "Alexia" over it and then making her sister look ugly in her homecoming pictures.

Well, her sister was really obsessed with her looks so this would tick her off...

Ok, Hayley's revenge is a little weak but she does maul Alexia's boyfriend in front of her but then, Alexia/Hayley is doing this:

Point Alexia. Again.

The girls are caught and finally reigned in by the Principal. She threatens to disqualify Alexia from the homecoming queen race and Hayley from the science fair but they both plead each others cases and she lets them off lightly by asking them to clean the Girl's bathroom wall. The girls finally talk about their issues with each other and we learn why they each acted out. It's a sweet scene where the girls come to understand one another and Hayley learns that Alexia isn't as experienced in love as she once believed. This is an interesting concept that I don't think any "swap bodies" movie had touched upon, that switching bodies with someone is a violation of one's self. Watching someone else as you do things to your body that you hadn't done before is kind of creepy when you really think of it and I understand Alexia's anger at the hickey and her fear that Hayley will lose her virginity for her. But, this is, Disney so all that thought is left up to you, they don't go into it more than that but kudos to them for even bringing that thought to the surface. So, finally the parents are brought in to discuss their girls' behaviour. The principal is ticked that their daughter was parading around in S&M garb and the other was practically mauling her boyfriend in public but they have psychology on their side, right?

The Principal's WTF? faces throughout the parents' 
weak explanation makes me laugh every time.

You know, I've noticed that in almost every teen movie out there, parents are made out to be incredibly dumb and clueless. Why is that? Is it the film producers way of telling teens "hey, this movie gets you. Parents just don't understand you guys, they are clueless as to how things really are but you guys get it." We're all guilty of this in our teen years, we think we know everything and that our parents are the fucked up weirdos and then we grow up, get slapped in the face with reality and realise that we didn't know shit back then. But, I digress.

The parents leave the school and the Principal now feels sympathy for the girls for being brought up by such dumbasses. This is perfect because now the girls are working together and helping each other straighten their lives out. Alexia/Hayley smooth talks Hayley's teacher to get back into the science fair and Hayley/Alexia tutors Alexia to help get her grades up to get into college. The girls are closer than ever and the parents pat themselves on the back for their great "parenting skills" and talk about writing a book. Haha, jokes on them, they didn't do anything, it was all the wish. Heh heh, stupid parents are...stupid!

So after their day of righting wrongs, the girls stay up so that Hayley/Alexia can make the wish to set things right. Alexia/Hayley falls asleep early but it's ok because Hayley/Alexia spots the star by herself.

Easy as pie...

So problem over, right? Wrong. They're going to pad this out some more, gotta make it at least 90 minutes, remember. However, the pay off is pretty good and sweet so I don't mind this delay as much as I would mind other obvious ones. Hayley/Alexia wakes up in her sister's body still and is devastated. All hope is lost and she believes that she is stuck in her sister's body forever. Haven't you ever heard, 'Be careful what you wish for' before?

Alexia/Hayley is still cheery, believing that they both fell asleep early but she is still bummed that her sister gets to have her moment of glory in the homecoming parade. Hayley/Alexia doesn't want to upset her sister so she stays quiet about the reverse wish fail.

Today is the big day, Hayley's science project has to be presented, Alexia has to meet up with a College acceptance panel and it's homecoming because everything important happens during the big high school dance. Hayley/Alexia manages to impress the panel and promises them a B average her next semester and Alexia/Hayley manages to present Hayley's science project and wins first prize.

The girls meet up to tell each other the good news but when Alexia/Hayley cheerfully tells her that Hayley will be able to present her project at Nationals, Hayley/Alexia finally breaks down and tells Alexia the bad news. They can't ever switch back. Alexia doesn't seem shocked by Hayley's confession and she finally confesses herself. She had wished to be Hayley at the same moment that Hayley wished to be her.

Exactly, Gandhi, exactly.
On a serious note, I really like this reveal. It shows you that even the supposed prettiest, most together girl still feels insecure about something. It's not pretty versus average, popular versus underdog, it's everyone against the world. We're all vulnerable, we're all trying to be or hoping to be better than we are, it's human nature. I like this message, it is an important one to send out to people, that you are not the only one out there who wishes they were anyone other than themselves and it makes me really like the Alexia character who I disliked at the beginning of the movie and wrote off as a vapid valley girl right away. She may have been on the outside but inside, she wanted so much more, she wanted to be smart like her sister, to have her life ahead of her. It killed her to think that high school would be all she had, and to her, Hayley had a bright future to look forward to where as she would have nothing. It's kind of nice to see that other side to people.

So anyways, the girls have a new found hope and, together this time, make their wish:

Rockin' 90s effects, y'all!

Why is it that wishes work instantaneously the second time but only work after a night's sleep the first time? Seriously, this seems to happen in all body switch movies but whatever, they are finally back in their own bodies and they couldn't be happier. Alexia wins homecoming Queen, is happy with her boyfriend and her friends have renounced their snobbish rules except for the one where they are totally BFF! Hayley will be able to present her science project at Nationals and she gets to dance with the boy next door who had a crush on her and her sister gives her the tiara she won. Most importantly, the sisters have grown to understand and appreciate one another and have become closer than they ever were before. And on that note, we end on a wink:


What a cheesy movie...and I fucking love it! I can't explain it but I just love the dynamic between the sisters in this and I really like the different kind of twist they put on this with the whole body swap concept. In most other movies, the body swap occurs because the characters are somehow cursed and that curse is only lifted when they learn something but what force cursed them in the first place? And how did this someone know exactly when the characters "learned their lesson" so to speak?

In this movie, it is our characters who cause the body switch out of a desire to be what they aren't. It's a neat look at both teenage insecurity and the whole "Be careful what you wish for" concept. The girls had to work their issues out and be totally honest with each other and truly work together to get out of their mess and I really liked that. I also liked that Disney had some balls to go with the whole "dominatrix outfit" scene, I don't think any other out fit would have worked for that scene, it kind of had to be shocking. Respect.

So, if you are ever in the mood for a good fluff film, I truly do recommend Wish Upon a Star, it's fun and heartwarming at the same time and I don't think we'll ever see such a sincere effort from a Disney teen movie again but time will tell.

I'm Blinvy and this has been another Teenage Wasteland review...type thing.

Clips used: Wish Upon a Star
                    Clone High

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