DVD Review – Geek Charming (2011)

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June 17, 2012 by Liza Lou

I have always loved Disney. When I was a child I used to lap up every second of the colourful, near perfect world depicted in animation and as a result waited around until my early thirties until my prince charming came and swept me off my feet. It didn’t happen of course but with Disney animation at least there’s an element of suspension from the real world that allows children (and adults) to grip onto impossible hopes and dreams right?
What about the non animated movies then? The ones that are repeated at Christmas and the whole family gather to watch. Are they any different? Do they have a moral underlying the typical chocolate coated world of Disney and can the new releases still hold an itty bit of magic?
I set off to find out..
Geek Charming was originally released exclusively for the Disney channel in November 2011 only to be released to the DVD market a few weeks ago. It’s based on a novel by Robin Palmer that was then re scripted by Elizabeth Hackett and Hilary Galanoy and then directed by Jeffrey Hornaday. It stars Sarah Hyland (from ABC’s sitcom Modern Family) and Mark Prokop.
Dylan Schoenfield is a snobby, popluar girl  who seemingly cares about nothing more than winning the school title of Blosson Queen. Josh Rosen is president of the school film club and wants nothing more than to win a prize at Puget Sound Film Festival. Of course, their two worlds collide when Josh wants to make Dylan the subject of his film. While she is busy giving him a taste of what it means to be popular, her world starts to crack and he begins to see a different side to a girl that would have normally avoided him against all costs.
If you have seen Mean Girls then you have seen this plot before and done marginally better I might add. It really is just another typical teen comedy about high school cliques and conforming to peer pressure. The story is somewhat predictable from the offset and the characterisations are exaggerated. I’m not sure how believable this makes it all however, I know I certainly didn’t act like that at school but I do know girls that did. The cool kids have their own language along with the other things that make them, well… cool and although it all seems a little bit nonsensical, perhaps it’s meant to be? Are we really supposed to understand what they’re going on about? I’m not hip enough remember! 
I could pick holes in much of the films aesthetics. Prokop’s Josh is nowhere near geeky enough for example and when Dylan gives him a make over about half way through I preferred the original.It’s all personal preference though and what really gives this film some cred is Dylan’s transition and the way Hyland’s emotional evolution strips away the fake, brattish visage.
It’s not perfect but it is Disney and is surely meant to be more entertaining than real. It tries to teach about misguided preconceptions but becomes cutesy by relying on that age old feeling associated with fairy tale endings. For me, that feeling (and hope) may never go away but unfortunately after one watch Geek Charming’s memory just might.

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