08 August 2013

TV DVD Review: "Austin & Ally: All the Write Moves!"

Rated: TV-G (US) / G (Canada)
Starring: Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Calum Worthy, and Raini Rodriguez
Released: June 18, 2013 (DVD)
Synopsis: Austin Moon (Ross Lynch, Teen Beach Movie) wants to make it in the music business, but can't write a song to save his life.  Ally Dawson (Laura Marano, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?) loves to write tunes, but has a severe case of stage fright.  When they have a chance meeting that leads to Austin inadvertently performing Ally's song in a music video, they form a partnership: She writes; he rocks.  Together with Austin's crazy video producer, Dez (Calum Worthy, R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour) and Austin's manager/Ally's BFF Trish (Raini Rodriguez), they're ready to take on the music world! Whether they're celebrating Trish's quinceƱera, trying to catch a mall thief, or hunting down Ally's precious songbook, laughs, insanity, and plenty of music are sure to ensue! As seen on Disney Channel.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 4.5/5
Sure, they're a bit silly, but that's typical for situation comedies, even ones outside of the Disney Channel.  Unlike VICTORiOUS, where the storyline is sacrificed for the sake of the performances at times, every episode is enthralling, amusing, and hilariously zany.

Soundtrack: 5/5
Between the catchy, danceable theme song and Austin's various performances, the music is outstanding.  Even the interludes during scene changes sound great and aren't annoyingly repetitive.

Acting: 4.75/5
An old friend once told me that on the Disney Channel, "you have to be silly and overact."  To a degree, that's true, but it seems like the adult actors are the sillier ones here.  Both Ross Lynch and Laura Marano do quite well here, as do Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Disney Channel is the one network where you can almost count on their series' and movies' characters to either do the right thing, or get vilified for their inappropriate actions.  That is exactly the case here.  Though some characters wrong each other, they apologize and are forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15).  Overcoming fears (Isaiah 41:10) is also a theme here.

Sexual Content: 4.5/5

As bad as it gets is Ally saying, "Is that guy really wearing a thong?", when she is asked to imagine a beach.

Nudity: 4/5
Ally wears some skirts that are a bit short, and she is also seen in an off-the-shoulder dress.  Austin is seen shirtless in one episode.  A grown woman wears a low-cut outfit in one scene.  The scene transitions show the Miami Beach, complete with people--both men and women--in rather skimpy swimsuits, though they are only seen at a distance.

Violence: 4/5
Comedic violence is the rule here.  Falls, accidents, and the typical physical/slapstick comedy is mostly all you get.  There is a scene where Austin, as part of a movie, stabs a "lobster" with an umbrella and gets splattered.

Drugs: 5/5
No way! This is Disney Channel, people!

Language: 4.25/5
Usage of slang words such as "butt" is present.  Probably the worst part in this department is, after Austin, Trish, and Dez complain about not being able to read Ally's handwriting, she writes something we don't see on a note and says to Dez, "Can you read that?", to which he replies, "Yes, and that is not a nice word!"

Other: 4/5
Some viewers may not like the near-lack of parental presence.  Also, Trish bounces from job to job due to irresponsibility, which is played for laughs.

Conclusion: Though many viewers may be watching this for Ross Lynch, I'm actually a big fan of this show because of Laura Marano.  Ever since I first saw her as part of the "class" on Jeff Foxworthy's Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?--see picture to the right--I knew she was destined for big things.  Imagine my surprise this past December when I watched Austin & Ally for the first time; my first thought was, "I don't believe my eyes! It's Laura Marano from Fifth Grader!" (As a side note, A.N.T. Farm's Sierra McCormick was also one of the "students" on that game show.)  This show is amazing; the only problem I have with this set is that it's just seven random episodes instead of a full season set.  The Mouse House executives need to realize that the fans want the whole series.  Will we ever get it? It's hard to say, but, if you really want it, there's always iTunes.

Score: 4.75/5

No comments:

Post a Comment