The latest Disney Channel production, "Jump In" stars Corbin Bleu ("High School Musical") and Keke Palmer (who got quite a bit of praise from her performance in last year's "Akeelah and the Bee".) Bleu stars as Izzy, a boxer whose father, Ken (David Reivers) is a former champ himself. Of course, his father is cheering his son on towards becoming another champ like himself.
Meanwhile, fellow classmate Mary Thomas (Palmer) is working towards a national title with her jump-rope team. When one of her team has to drop out, Izzy gets called on to be a replacement. Given all the jump rope that he's done training for boxing, it works - and he enjoys the creative choreography that the teams have to prepare for the tournaments.
The picture rests firmly in formula: we know that Izzy is going to get goofed on for doing something girls do and that his father is going to be upset by his son choosing a different path than he had in mind. Of course, by the time the end credits roll, everyone has come around and supports Izzy's choice. We've seen this story countless times before.
However, director Paul Hoen takes a more down-to-Earth approach with the film, concentrating on performances instead of flash. The result is that the appealing performances of Palmer and Bleu manage to carry the audience's interest, despite the fact that we're well aware of how this picture is going to turn out. It's also nice to have a kids' movie that isn't hyperactive. There are certainly messages here, as well, but they're not delivered in a heavy-handed manner.
Overall, while not exceptional, "Jump In" does do a lot of things right. The performances are very enjoyable and director Paul Hoen has done a nice job of making a TV movie not look entirely like a TV movie. Overall, one of the better Disney Channel efforts in recent memory.
VIDEO: "Jump In" is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full-frame by Disney. This is a reasonably good transfer, boasting sharpness and detail that, while not exceptional, are often pretty good, aside from some dimly-lit scenes that look a little too soft. Some slight artifacting was seen, but no edge enhancement, print flaws or other issues. Colors remained bright and warm, with nice saturation and no smearing or other issues.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation provided bassy tunes and clear dialogue, but not much in the way of surround use.
EXTRAS: A pair of music videos, a featurette on learning the moves seen in the film, as well as a short "making of" and previews for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: An enjoyably more low-key Disney effort that concentrates on the performances (which are very good), "Jump In" manages to jump past the fact that it's story is formulaic and entertain reasonably well. The DVD presentation offers fine audio/video, but minimal extras. Recommended for fans.
The Film B