Plot: What’s it about?
An all expenses paid vacation for an entire family to a remote, tropical island in the Pacific Ocean sounds like a dream come true. So when Steve Stevens (Tom Virtue) learns that he has won an incredible paid trip to a lush island, he begins to celebrate. After all, his family could take a break from the stress of the real world, relax and emerge better off for the venture. If nothing else, they can soak in the sun, swim in the cool waters, and put their normal lives on hold for a while. An entire week on a tropical island with no bill, a prospect that seems too good to be true, because it is. The truth is that the island is just off the coast of California and everyone else is there to produce a television series, a reality show based on the Stevens. All the people they meet, the various situations they encounter, all staged to produce emotional television. When the tension mounts and the family is pushed to the brink, will they break apart or pull closer together?
When Disney decided to take Lizzie Maguire from television to the big screen, the movie was a hit and sent star Hilary Duff into a life of fame and fortune. She has since become a success in both music and movies, so of course, Disney would love to repeat that success. The obvious choice would be Christy Carlson Romano, star of the popular Even Stevens, also a Disney Channel project. But when an Even Stevens movie was produced, the film wasn’t launched in theaters, not even close. In the end, this was more like a movie of the week, a low budget attempt to draw in more Even Stevens fans. This is a shame, as Romano deserves the same kind of promotion blitz that was given to Duff. The movie itself is passable, but doesn’t even work as well as the show does, which is a let down. I find the series to be inconsistent, but good at times, whereas this movie version seems rushed and poorly executed. And since this movie marks the finale of Even Stevens, I think more time and effort should have been devoted to the project. But if you’re a devoted Disney Channel fan and need a rental, then The Even Stevens Movie makes a decent choice.
Video: How does it look?
The Even Stevens Movie is presented in full frame, as intended. This looks much it would have on television, just a little sharper and more defined. I noticed some mild compression errors here and there, though I don’t think this will serve to distract from the movie. The colors look bright and never become oversaturated, while flesh tones appear natural and consistent at all times. I saw no problems with the contrast either, as shadows seemed complex and detail is high and rich. This was just broadcast, so with a DVD release soon after, you’d expect a good visual treatment and that is the case here.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is your basic dialogue driven comedic soundtrack, though a few bells & whistles knock it up a notch. I still wouldn’t mark this as a high end mix, even by normal comedy standards, but there is some life in the audio here. The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option puts the surrounds to use, but not that often and for the most part, this is a front channel experience. That is not a complaint however, as the overall presentation is terrific. I noticed a lot of effective channel separation, which adds a lot of depth to the material. No troubles with dialogue either, as vocals are well handled and have a clean, smooth presence. So not a dynamic soundtrack in terms of surround use, but a well crafted and more than passable treatment.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The two young stars, Christy Carlson Romano and Shia LaBeouf provide audio comments on selected scenes, but nothing substantial. I think a selection of interviews with the cast and crew about the show, especially the conclusion would have been nice, but no dice. The only other supplement is a poorly designed survival game, quite a disappointment.