The Cheetah Girls: One World
Airdate: 8-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22 (Disney Channel).
Disney Channel's "The Cheetah Girls" are at it again, trying to get that big break that sets their career on fire.
Now sporting the subtitle "One World," this installment in the movie franchise sees the trio of teen rock singers traveling to India, all because one of the girls' cell phones has such bad reception that she mistakes the invitation on the other side and hears Bollywood instead of Hollywood.
Disney's first "Cheetah Girls" a few years ago had heart, a good beat and a little soul. By now, though, only the beat remains. Still based on the book series by Deborah Gregory (who also co-produces here), this latest cheetah creature is bare-boned and rift of the originality it once displayed.
Dan Berendsen's story -- with teleplay by Berendsen, Nisha Ganatra and Jennifer Small -- has little originality and heart, but director Paul Hoen does all he can to perk it up. He's aided by some pounding musical numbers, though they're about as shallow as the rest of the story.
The girls -- Chanel (Adrienne Bailon), Dorinda (Sabrina Bryan) and Aquanetta (Roshan Seth) -- looks almost desperate at times to get the story revved up and on its way. They scream and jump up and down appropriately, but pretty soon we understand that's pretty much going to be it. Fatima Robinson's choreography and Donald Duncan's photography are lively but can't really salvage the telefilm's flatness.
On the positive side, the locations -- the cities of Mumbai and Udaipur -- add a bit of color and spark, and some musical numbers do brighten things up, including "Cheetah Love" and "I'm the One," both written by Kara DioGuardi, along with "Dance Me If You Can," written by Matthew Gerrard & Robbie Nevil.
But as often happens, the story line that accompanies the music isn't really up to snuff. The girls get to travel, find (and sometimes lose) romance and even sing their little hearts out. Still, sometimes perseverance can go just a little too far, and jumping up and down and screeching can get a little annoying.
Production: Khussro Films and Martin Chase Prods. Cast: Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan, Kiely Williams, Roshan Seth. Story: Dan Bernedsen. Teleplay: Dan Berendsen, Nisha Ganatra, Jennifer Small. Based on the book series by: Deborah Gregory. Director: Paul Hoen. Executive producer: Debra Martin Chase. Producer: Mitch Engel. Co-producers: Cheryl Hill, S.M. Ferozeuddin Alameer, Deborah Gregory, Dan Berendsen. Director of photography: Donald Duncan. Choreographer: Fatima Robinson.