Empty8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12
Predictable and a tad pretentious, "Jump In" nonetheless will appeal to kids and tweens with its reliable combination of attractive stars, soft hip-hop music, eye-popping athleticism and a satisfying story. While not likely to be a blockbuster like "High School Musical" (which has a sequel scheduled for this year), "Jump In" will do just fine as a Disney Channel original movie, with its family-friendly message and astute direction by Paul Hoen.
The Davis Entertainment production from John Davis co-stars "High School's" Corbin Bleu as Izzy Daniels, an aspiring Golden Gloves boxer coached by his father (real-life father David Reivers), a former boxing champ. Opposite Bleu is rising star Keke Palmer as Mary Thomas, a neighbor and the leader of a four-girl double Dutch team. (Double Dutch is extreme jump roping, performed with dance moves and two ropes at breakneck speeds.)
Izzy doesn't have his heart in the boxing ring, but he doesn't want to disappoint his newly widowed dad. Double Dutch excites Izzy -- and so does Mary -- but jumping rope isn't cool. There's an important competition coming up, and Izzy has to decide whether to follow his heart. Can you guess what he does? Can you tie your own shoes?
The gymnastics skills of real championship-caliber double Dutch teams are a sight to behold. So, too, is the agility of Bleu and Palmer, who, even with stunt doubles, turn in some athletic performances.