by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5 stars)
Alyson Michalka as TAYLOR CALLUM
Amanda Michalka as COURTNEY CALLUM
Sheila McCarthy as FRAN WALKER
Michael Trevino as JACKSON MEADE
Christian Serratos as HEATHER PEREZ
Ron Gabriel as MELVIN MELVILLE
Jack Coleman as REED CALLUM
Directed by: Francine McDougall
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“Cow Belles” is the latest Disney Channel original movie brought to DVD by the Mouse House. On the heels of the mega-hit “High School Musical,” “Cow Belles” won’t see the same numbers, but it largely appeals to the same audience.
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Starring the sister singing duo of Aly & AJ, “Cow Belles” tells the story of two spoiled rich girls whose father owns a major dairy in town. Courtney (AJ) is preparing for her cotillion while Taylor (Aly) has just gotten her driver’s license and a new car. Their father (Reed Callum), who dotes on the girls partly out of guilt for their dead mother, gives them anything they want.
After the girls accidentally set fire to the kitchen, their father has had enough. He makes them get jobs at the dairy to pay off the repairs. At the same time, he leaves town on a trip arranged by his smarmy business partner. While out of town, the smarmy partner raids the dairy’s financial coffers, frames the girls’ dad and skips town. It’s up to Taylor and Courtney to keep their family business afloat until their dad gets back.
“Cow Belles” follows the Disney formula perfectly. It stars two hot, young singing sensations, who have a contract with the Disney recording branch. If you frequent the Disney Channel often on the dial, you’ll recognize Alyson Michalka as Keely from “Phil of the Future.” These girls are next in line to take over where Hilary Duff and Lindsay Lohan left the stage.
Overall, Aly and AJ are decent actors and carry the film as best they can. Aly has a stronger, more mature part, and it shows that she at least has a little more camera time on her sister. However, the casting of the sisters works well as they have good chemistry. Ultimately, these two make a better pair than Hailey and Hilary Duff ever did.
As would be expected, there’s the obligatory love interest, who is the working stiff farm hand from the business that provides the milk for the dairy. Played by Michael Trevino, he fits the bill as a good looking young man, although he doesn’t have the same presence in front of the camera as his female co-stars.
The DVD comes with a behind-the-scenes featurette as well as two music videos from the sister duo.
For what it is, “Cow Belles” works. I wouldn’t expect the middle aged action hero crowd to go for it, but for the teenage girls, it makes a decent show.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Fullscreen (1.33:1). English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.