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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie

VIDEO REVIEWS

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: THE MOVIE (2009)

Starring Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin, Maria Canals-Barrera, David DeLuise, Jennifer Stone, Steve Valentine, Xavier Torres, Jennifer Alden, JazmŪn Caratini, Jonathan Dwayne, Marise Alvarez, Bettina Mercado, Veraalba Santa and Gabriela Alejandra Rosario.

Written by Dan Berendsen.

Directed by Lev L. Spiro.

Distributed by Walt Disney Home Video.  98 minutes.  Rated G.

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Wizards of Waverly Place - The Movie 

You know you are getting old when you watch the movie version of the latest Disney Channel sensation and most of the time your gut reaction to the main characters is this: Man, those kids are complete and utter brats.  How do their parents put up with them? 

So, yeah, Iíll admit it.  I am not the demographic that the makers of Wizards of Waverly Place Ė The Movie are shooting for.  Iíll also come clean on the fact that Iíve only seen one or two episodes of the tween-favorite series that this TV movie springs from Ė though I do remember enjoying that a little more than I did this film. 

Wizards of Waverly Place Ė The Movie is a strangely mean-spirited but essentially benign little trifle of a movie. 

It is a celebration of the family that spends 75% of its running time having its family of characters completely mistreat and disrespect each other Ė leading to a feel-good ending in which they realize how important they all are to each other.  We might feel more triumph in this eventual realization if not for the fact that each and every one of them is completely responsible for the chasm in their relationships.  Frankly, if I were related to these people, I would probably try to keep my distance as well. 

The high concept is sort of a variation on the old Bewitched scenario.  Warlock falls in love with and marries a mortal, agreeing to give up his powers for love.  Fast forward about eighteen years Ė the couple has had three precociously bratty children, all of whom have inherited dadís old powers.  However, just because dad and mom wonít use magic, why canít the kids?  Problem is, in this wizard world, apparently only one of the kids can keep the powers. 

Those kids are Alex, a cute but sulky and mouthy sixteen-year-old girl played by current Disney princess Selena Gomez, her older brother Justin (David Henrie), who is a perfect mamaís boy and Max (Jake T. Austin) who acts as old as his characterís name even though he is like twelve. 

So, why exactly is this made as a movie and not just an episode of the series?  Well, it is longer.  It is filmed on location at a Caribbean resort (undoubtedly owned by Disney).  It has no live studio audience / laugh track to let us know when itís supposed to be funny.  Also, in fairness, there is a bit of low-level special effects work here. 

Thatís about it. 

The storyline here has Alex mistakenly causing an Itís a Wonderful Life quandary when she wishes her parents had never met during one of her fairly regular temper tantrums.  Of course, her parents never having met means that none of them had been born, so she and her brothers must get mom and dad back together before the kids all fade away into the recesses of time and magic. 

They are helped by a low-rent local wizard (Steve Valentine of Crossing Jordan slumming here) and his girlfriend who has been turned into a parrot by a magical spell. 

Of course, having to work together to save their family makes all of them Ė even the parents who do not remember having children Ė appreciate the family bonds. 

Itís silly and mostly harmless, making for the kind of carefree fluff that will entrance twelve-year-old girls and probably kind of bore their parents.  I do wonder what kind of a role model it is to show children constantly ignoring and berating their parents and making it all seem okay in the long run.  But hey, itís not like this makes Wizards of Waverly Place unique in childrenís entertainment.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 12, 2009.

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Copyright ©2009   PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 12, 2009.

 

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