"Phil of the Future: Gadgets & Gizmos"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Ricky Ullman as PHIL
    Amy Bruckner as PIM
    Craig Anton as MR. DIFFY
    Lise Simms as MRS. DIFFY
    Alyson Michalka as KEELY

    Rated TV-G
    Studio: Disney

    Created by: Douglas Tuber and Tim Maile
    Back to DVD Review Home


This Disney Channel show is created by the same guys who did “Lizzie McGuire.” It has the same formula, only with the genders switch. Instead of Lizzie as a main character, you have Phil Diffy (Ricky Ullman), a kid who lives in the year 2121. His family was seeing the world throughout the ages when their time machine broke down and stranded them in our present.

Phil has an annoying sister Pim (Amy Bruckner) and two pretty cool parents (Craig Anton and Lise Simms). The next door neighbor Keely (Alyson Michalka) is Phil’s Gordo - his best friend at school whose privy to all his secrets. “Phil of the Future” shows how these castaways from the future manage to live life in the early 21st century.

Ultimately, Phil’s got the same problems as any other kid from this age. His advantage is that he’s got a whole selection of futuristic gizmos that help him through the day - like invisispray, food spray, the homework helmet and his Wizard, which is a multipurpose tool with about as many functions as Dr. Who’s sonic screwdriver.

Although Phil’s gadgets are used in practically every show, this disc is under the them of “Gadgets & Gizmos.” The disc includes four episodes of the series, including one that hasn’t aired.

The first episode pits Pim, Phil’s little sister, against a bully at school. When Phil stands up for his sis, he ends up in the crosshairs of Pim’s bully’s big brother. It’s up to the two to use their wits (and their gadgets) to solve their problems.

The second episode sees Keely hijack Phil’s newager, a device that can make something increase or decrease in age, to see what she looks like at age 25. And let’s just say that if you feel a little weird being attracted to the 14-year-old Keely, you’ll be in heaven with the 25-year-old Keely. Unfortunately, by the end of the episode, Phil uses the newager to get her back to normal.

In the third episode, Phil helps Keely overcome stage fright with his Wizard. And in the fourth episode, there’s an irritating cameo by Orlando Brown from “That’s So Raven” in which he plays another person from the future. The Diffy family wants to hitch a ride back to the 22nd century. However, Phil knows the kid’s true nature as a mean and nasty prankster. Phil has a moral dilemma of whether to play harmful pranks and help his family back home or stand his ground.

The DVD comes with an audio commentary on the first episode with Ricky Ullman. He does a decent commentary, with a funny side effect of pointing out all the flaws of the show as they happen. The only other special feature is a virtual catalogue of Phil’s futuristic gadgets, which includes what you’ve seen in these four episodes as well as a few others.

Overall, the “Phil of the Future” television show is a cute series. The premise has plenty of spunk, although it really isn’t anything more than a sci-fi “Lizzie McGuire” with the roles reversed. Still, the cast has chemistry and work well together. It’s standard Disney Channel faire.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Fullscreen (1.33:1). English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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