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Hannah Montana (2006)
Cheesy and silly, but mostly fun and enjoyable.
10 years ago, no one would have suspected that a show about a middle school girl who lives a double life as a normal teen and a pop sensation would become an overnight hit - but it has, and that type of show takes the form of Mickey's new pride and joy Hannah Montana, starring a fresh-faced Miley Cyrus (yes, "Achy Breaky's" daughter).
So the premise, well, I have already explained it. But the catch is, for some reason, she has to keep her double identity a secret. The only people who know are her family, friends, and her on-again-off-again boyfriend. It seems easy enough to keep the cat in the bag, but paparazzi photos that contain evidence and suspicious schoolmates are easy - and frequent - threats to the ordeal.
The acting is all over the place on this show. The actors can be over-the-top and crazy very frequently, and in a second can switch to dull and lifeless, be it in a comedic or dramatic scene. One actor who manages to (slightly) neutralize herself is Emily Osment - who plays the main character's best friend - from the last two installments of Spy Kids, and she does quite a good job of that. A bright future for her as an actress can definitely be seen. Mitchel Musso and Jason Earles have great comedic timing but are way too wild with their acting on occasion. Billy Ray Cyrus as the father (meaning he doesn't have to act much as he's Hannah's father in real life) often seems like he's reading off a teleprompter and shows no emotion. His daughter, Miley, the leading lady, definitely has some comedic timing but needs to work more on her acting if she's expected to carry a show.
The story lines are mostly good and have some kind of moral value to them. But as with typical Disney tradition, the values are never subtle. But that's OK, because the 18 minutes leading up to the 2-minute cheesiness are mostly enjoyable. And Miley has quite a bit of singing talent. The acting is mediocre and the plots can be shallow at times, but overall, this is enjoyable and kids will love it, which is the most important thing for a show like this. Hannah Montana rates as a 6 out of 10.
The Naked Brothers Band (2007)
Horrendous show that even the tweens won't eat up.
The Naked Brothers Band was a 2005 indie movie that, well, sucked. Nickelodeon was out of their mind and agreed to turn the movie into an equally bad show. The main focus of the show is obviously the band, but you have to wonder how they get a show when the lead singer sounds like he hasn't developed at all and the instrumentalists are mediocre. It really raises an eyebrow when you find out that the drummer and singer are the producer's kids, but anywhom...
Each episode is compromised of some wacky situation the 8-14 year old kids get into. Almost every one of said scenarios ties into the "I won't admit it" relationship between the 11-year-old singer and the high school-aged bassist, the lone female of the group. You have to admit, what they've got going for them is actually pretty sweet and you'll find yourself rooting for them on occasion - but of course, cringe-worthy lines such as "No, I love YOU, Rosalina!" said to a video on a camcorder of said girl ruin it all.
An important question to ask is who IS this show's target audience? The show has crude humor and slapstick for the 4-7 year olds and sitcom situations leaning more towards the 8-11 Hannah Montana crowd, but the show's mildly sexual inappropriateness is too much for both of those age groups. And the show airs on Nickelodeon's TEENick block but it is far too juvenile for said group. Whoever this show is intended for, I highly doubt they would enjoy it, even in an age where bands like the Jonas Brothers are force-fed to young children by the media. The Naked Brothers Band rates as a 2 out of 10.