When it comes to live-action Disney Channel fare, I’m always completely honest in that I missed all of the 1990s and much of the 21st century up until recently. While KIDS INCORPORATED and variations on the MICKEY MOUSE CLUB spring to mind as the stuff I recall from the 80s, it’s being a parent that has really brought me back up-to-speed, though it’s predominantly the excellent animated series’ on Disney Junior and Disney XD that are huge in this house, if only because my girls are still pretty young. It also doesn’t hurt that STAR WARS REBELS and all that MARVEL stuff is cross-generational, either! But on the live-action note, I know from some of the older kids my girls occasionally associate with that it’s some serious business. One familiar face is that of Leigh-Allyn Baker (read my interview with her here), who just-wrapped GOOD LUCK CHARLIE and has jumped into the Executive Producer chair and a starring role in BAD HAIR DAY alongside AUSTIN & ALLY’s Laura Marano. After catching an advance screening of the film during my recent trip to Los Angeles, it’s time to share a few thoughts ahead of the official premiere tonight at 8/7c on the Disney Channel.
In BAD HAIR DAY, Baker stars as Liz, a disgraced cop posing as a private investigator who’s also posing as an FBI agent (and later a mall cop) on the hunt for a piece of costume jewelry that may or may not actually be quite a bit more than “costume.” Marano stars as tech-savvy blogger and Prom Queen hopeful, Monica, the titular victim of the baddest of bad hair, but really, the hair itself is little more than a MacGuffin to set in motion a series of events that get even crazier once the hair happens. When Liz shows up knocking on the door inquiring about the elusive necklace, it actually seems a bit creepy when she’s welcomed into the house, only to quickly deduce more than a few facts about Monica, while the teen manages to turn the tables just as fast and be onto this “more-than-meets-the-eye” game. We already know she has the necklace, but she’s absolutely gonna use it to her advantage.
Like LETHAL WEAPON for the tween crowd, audiences are presented with a new spin on the classic police department showdown scene in which the angry chief goes head-to-head with the insubordinate detective who might be in much deeper water than which she probably should belong – and the results of that relationship are “complicated,” according to Liz’ former partner Ed (played by Christian Paul).
As with the recent big-screen Disney romp, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY, the simplest of things manage to get out-of-hand, from a visit to a French salon to a lunch at a mall cafe. What should be a simple driver’s test at the DMV becomes a full-scale car chase with Liz and Monica (and the Driver’s Ed instructor) racing to escape renowned jewel thief, Pierce (BIG LOVE’s Christian Campbell) – a villain forged of James Bond and Tom Cruise’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE alter-ego Ethan Hunt, but with all the “good” stripped out. He’s not a nice guy.
While it seems like a lot to squeeze into a 90-minute made-for-tv movie, there’s even more comedic chaos that occurs, along with an underlying message of “girl power” that plays out to potentially change things for both Liz and Monica alike. In the end, the path that each character eventually will choose could be a surprise.
BAD AIR DAY premieres Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8/7c on Disney Channel. Check your local listings or the official site for additional airings.