17 July 2013

DVD Review: "Good Luck, Charlie: Enjoy the Ride"

Rated: TV-G (US) / G (Canadian Home Video Rating)
Starring: Bridgit Mendler, Leigh-Allyn Baker, and Mia Talerico

Released: April 11, 2010 - November 27, 2011 (Disney Channel premieres) / June 18, 2013 (DVD)
Synopsis: The Duncans are one crazy family! Their stay-at-home mother, Amy (Leigh-Allyn Baker), dreams of being on television; their father, Bob (Eric Allen Kramer) is crazy about pest control; the firstborn, P. J. (Jason Dolley), is sweet, yet dumb; Teddy (Bridgit Mendler), the second child, is very smart and mature; Gabe, the next-to-youngest, is a troublemaker; and Charlie, the baby of the family, is as sweet and innocent as can be.  With such a dysfunctional family, you can bet they're going to get into some crazy adventures! Whether it's a date night for Bob and Amy that leads to the kids losing Charlie, a online video of Charlie that leads to the entire Duncan family (minus a mortified Teddy) making a mockery of themselves on the news, or Amy, Teddy and Charlie performing as The Duncan Sisters on Shake It Up, Chicago!, you're sure to laugh and smile all the way! Hang in there, baby, and Enjoy the Ride!

Plots: 4/5
The main reason I like the shows on Disney Channel is because they remind me of old-school programming, such as Mork & Mindy or I Love Lucy.  On that front, this set delivers.  The episodes go between zany, silly, and just downright bizarre, but I just couldn't help but laugh.

Production Values: 4/5
No one these days makes sitcoms like the Disney Channel.  Even Nickelodeon's iCarly and VICTORiOUS, as insanely fun as they can be, aren't exactly the same as what you can find on the Mouse network.  Of course, I doubt anything in this DVD set will change the minds of those who find Disney sitcoms to be inane tripe, but I would suggest at least giving the show a chance before completely brushing it off.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: A reference is made to different body parts on opposite gender babies.  P. J. becomes infatuated with a female TV character who is said to always wear a bikini, though she is never seen. 3.75/5
  • Nudity: Amy wears a few tops that show some slight cleavage.  The Shake It Up crossover episode features CeCe (Bella Thorne) wearing an outfit that shows some slight midriff. 4/5
  • Drugs: None; this is a Disney show! 5/5
  • Language: The euphemism "darn" is used once.  The episode "Teddy on Ice" features a sub-plot involving Charlie using bad language. (Spoiler: It is revealed that Amy taught her that word.) 4/5
  • Violence: Typical sitcom slapstick.  A TV show Bob watches features an alien who has a gun, and P. J. and Gabe watch a soap opera where someone gets shot (heard, not seen.) 4/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Nothing in this department. 5/5
  • Other: Some of the gags revolve around bathroom humor: flatulence, urination, etc. 4/5
Conclusion: Anyone who knows me knows that I have been a fan of Disney sitcoms ever since discovering Lizzie McGuire over a decade ago.  Though the network and its shows have changed since then, the dedication to family-friendliness remains true, as far as this set goes.  Fans of the series likely have already seen these episodes; I'm a bit new to the Duncan family, but even I had seen two of the episodes at least once before.  Still, for those who don't have cable but are curious about current sitcoms on the Mouse network, this would serve as a great introduction.  Recent headlines about the show have stirred controversy, but you won't see any of that here.

Score: 4/5

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