As a kid and teenager, I watched a steady diet of cartoons (I still do). I never really adventured much into the high school television programs and movies except maybe ones like Saved by the Bell or Head of the Class. Most of them were too sweet and perfect and last time I checked I’m not perfect so I couldn’t relate (the sweet jury is still out). Hopefully 16 Wishes which did quite well on the Disney Channel would be a little different. I wouldn’t count on it.
Abby Jensen (played by Debby Ryan) is about to wake up to a very special day. It is her 16th birthday!! (Papers and streamers everywhere, oh glorious!) In fact, this little lady right here has something more than a 16th birthday, she has 16 wishes printed on construction paper!! (More streamers!!). They are wonderful wishes but there is a special one at number sixteen, a picture of Logan Buchanan (played by Keenan Tracey), high school quarterback, yadda yadda yadda. She must want to make kissy face with this boy, we’ll see if she ever gets her chance.
Meanwhile, she walks straight into a surprise Happy Birthday from her parents Bob & Sue (played by Patrick Gilmore and Kendall Cross) along with her brother, Mike (played by Cainan Wiebe). Abby quickly ushers them out of the room. How Rude! Outside, some sort of magical pest lady named Celeste (played by Anna Mae Routledge) steps out of her van and put some wasps on a fast track to inside the Jensen home. Intrigue!
Well finally that Abby is ready for the day ahead. She looks outside to see that her high school rival, Krista Cook (played by Karissa Tynes) is also having her 16th birthday and has a new car to boot. And cue, pouty face…oh no she did-n’t! Oh, no Wasps attack!! (*runs around room like Pee Wee Herman*). The Jensens get forced out of the house including Abby, who only has her pajamas and her 16 wishes to her name. Looks like she will be taking the bus. Wait, I think that means another pouty face!
So after Pest Control (which is handled by Celeste) comes in and pronounces the house unlivable for the next day or so, Abby heads to the bus stop. Her best friend, Jay (played by Jean-Luc Bilodeau) is there to great her. Cue the dorky, cute boy! Jay gives Abby a special birthday necklace. BFF, Best Friends Forever! No, I mean seriously, he gave her a necklace that said that. Suddenly, a package lady named Celeste stops by and gives Abby a very special package for her 16th birthday. Wait…isn’t that the pest control chick? I think it is, I bet the package is going to have wasps!
Nope, no wasps and face mutilation on this day. Abby opens up the package to reveal, a box of matches and some very special candles. Sixteen candles in fact. Where is Molly Ringwald when you need her? Anyhow, Abby gets the bright idea to take out her 16 wishes. Let us see. Number 1 is to meet Joey Lockhart (played by Joel Semande). She takes the candle labeled Number 1, lights it and blows it out. All of the sudden, a tour bus pulls up and out steps Joey Lockhart. I’m going to faint! They share some kind words, Joey gets confused why he’s here and he leaves.
Abby looks at the box again and looks at her wish list. Wait, number eight sounds great! We’ll get a smooth ride to drive to school in. No filthy bus for these two young teenagers! She goes through the same motions and a new ride pulls up. The driver offers to drive the kids to school. The driver looks oddly like Celeste. Wow, that girl gets around, and when I say gets around, I mean she drives a lot. This is a Disney show for pete’s sake. With that, the two get inside for what can only be described as a magical day. What adventures are in store for Abby? We’ll just have to wait and find out. *Streamers*
This movie has so much sugar and syrup, I swear it will stain your teeth and rot your brain. But then, I’ve sat through a few Disney teenager shows in my time and I am not sure why this one should be any different. All of the people are attractive, it has an ultra happy ending and it’s a wonderful life. Cue James Stewart and Donna Reed. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t the same formula I’ve seen for so many years.
The actors and actresses are decent enough and I suppose there is a good message in there somewhere, but come on…Abby is about as deserving of those 16 wishes as a Hilton sister would be. Furthermore, pet peeve but she doesn’t get to do all of her wishes. I guess that would have turned this into a 13 episode summer replacement series, on DISNEY! Oddly, my favorite character was Celeste and stranger, she was perhaps the most syrupy of them all. (That and I’ve seen pictures of her away from 16 wishes, wowsa).
The video is in 1.78:1 widescreen presentation. This looks fairly good for a television movie and everybody certainly sparkles. The environment looks to have plenty of detail and I don’t think any child would even notice any slight issues here. One thing I do mention is that the wasps from the opening scenes look really fake. Therefore it makes the video seem grainy during that part.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD. If you like high school musical style music, you’ll do just fine here. The soundstage is pretty loud and dialog is crystal clear. Surround effects are used for both dialog and the occasional goofy sound and will use the left and right speakers. It’s sufficient and kiddies will again be pleased. There doesn’t appear to be any subtitles on this disc.
- Automatic Trailers: Fallen(looks much cooler than what I just watched)
- Cast Interview: Debby Ryan 1:32: An interview with the lead actress. She talks briefly about the opening scene and the music she does in this movie.
- Cast Interview: Jean-Luc Bilodeau 1:57: Another brief talk, this time with Jay as he spends a little time talking about his character and how when he speaks personally with Debby Ryan, he needs a dictionary. I was thinking a pillow and a muzzle, but I digress.
- Wish Comes True Everyday Music Video 3:14: The video of the title song with Debby Ryan singing. It’s very catchy. I think my wife was doing the cabbage patch to it. I could be wrong.
Apparently, this movie did pretty well in its premiere over at Disney. On that day, it was the most watched cable program of the day gathering over 5.6 million viewers. A further Sunday show got four million more. Debby Ryan is well on her way to Disney stardom (at time of this review, she is working on a movie of her Disney show, The Suite Life). But unfortunately, this thirty-something kid just couldn’t get into this vat of marshmallow goodness.
The disc is decent enough, it has excellent audio and video. There are even a couple of extras to tide me over including a bloopers reel at the end of the film. But, it is the same old thing that Disney has been slinging for years. I’ll recommend it to pre-teens who want a peek at what fantasy teenage life looks like but that’s about it. Most people are best to dismiss this away and stick to something else for Sunday enjoyment. Meanwhile, I’m going to go have a party with all of the streamers left around. Look, somebody left a candle. I wonder if Joey Lockhart is still in town. OH BOY!