Oh Disney Plus, you nostalgia machine. I only bought the service because of Star Wars – baby Yoda was too cute to resist and since I started the journey in November, I’ve been swept up in Star Wars fever. Buying Disney Plus felt like a must the moment I started The Clone Wars (2008) ( look forward to a review of the first six seasons soon). Thankfully, along with the Star Wars goodness, the service is filled with movies I remember watching by myself or with my sister when we were much younger- good old nostalgic times. When I saw The Cheetah Girls pop up while scrolling, I knew I had to watch it – it was one of my favorite Disney-to-TV movies and I wanted to see how much I would like it over a decade later . Even now, this movie entertains. It has great bops, some cute moments, and an utterly ridiculous plot that’ll have you laughing with friends. This is by no means a good movie- but it is a fun one.
The plot follows the titular Cheetah Girls- a group of four high school kids trying to make it big as musicians while living their own Cheetah Way. Raven plays Galleria, the self appointed leader of the group. Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Aqua (Kiely Williams), and Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan) fill out the group, each bringing and adding a different element to the musical group. Acting between the girls feels odd at times (though mostly fine) and makes the relationship feel out of place. This impacts tense moments and undercuts a lot of the potential emotional moments. There are still some heartwarming moments but their overall impact falls short of where they could be. One thing I did appreciate about the film was that every girl (sans Aqua) gets a real moment of growth or emotion that feels semi-earned. In a movie as chaotic as this- that’s a huge deal. I wish it was just more applied and followed through on.
The best part of the movie is obviously the songs. As my sister reminded me, “Cinderalla” is a bop and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s surprising how catchy some of these songs still are. The over the top elements add to the corny fun of the whole thing, so I was genuinely enthralled by the experience. The only issue is how poorly edited the music videos are. The camera never properly focuses and jumps a lot. Thankfully, these issues don’t plague the final number too much but it really took me out of the earlier two songs.
What the movie lacks in subtlety it makes up in sheer absurdity. Things in the movie just happen out of nowhere and it proceeds at a breakneck pace. In particular, the third act is just a series of events that are more and more ridiculous. I couldn’t stop laughing at how everyone came together. Granted, the last song and the number are great but it literally makes the whole movie feel like some strange joke. It’s a great, entertaining joke to be sure. It’s hilariously bad in the best way.
There’s some decent buildup for some of the characters but the overarching story of the whole group feels haphazard and out of place. The film doesn’t do a great job at establishing why the girls are together or why they care so much about each other outside of just exhibiting cheetah-ness??I think? So when conflict comes up, it’s hard to understand how the dynamic should be playing out besides the basic way the movie presents itself in. Add on to this to the heavy handedness of certain character traits and absurd resolution of the groups tensions and you have a strangely unsatisfying story that’s fun enough to sit through.
TLDR: The Cheetah Girls is a fun ridiculous time. The music is fun, the energy is great, and there are more than one moments of pure comedic absurdity.
Final Rating: 5.7/10. This movie is great if you can watch it without taking it seriously. Just have a fun time with it- if you liked it before, chances are it’s infectious energy will get to you even now.