Thoughts on Jump In!
1. Corbin Bleu, as annoying as he may be in Flight 29 Down and as little as he may have brought to the table in High School Musical, has a great deal of natural, easy charm. Keke Palmer, as expected, did a great job with the material she was given. They didn't have a crazy amount of on screen chemistry or anything, but then again they didn't totally fizzle either. They were cute together. Corbin is incredibly easy to root for as a main character, no matter how thin his character is written.
2. Having a real life father and son play father and son in a movie can be a good thing if it creates a realness to their interactions and allows the actors to be more comfortable with each other. See also Hannah Montana where Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus are both at their respective bests when working with each other.
3. You expect a certain amount of cheese and over-sweetness when watching a DCOM. And yeah, this did have some of it, but I do believe this was the least saccharine Disney Channel Original Movie that I've ever seen. There was a true sincerity and earnestness to this that is rare from one of these movies and was kind of refreshing. Even among my favorites, Life-Size was one of the silliest, cutest movies I've ever seen, High School Musical had not a single sincere or earnest bone in its body (which was its appeal in many ways), Read It And Weep certainly had some sincerity to it (probably not as much as I implied in my initial review), but was also packed with over-the-top, ridiculous comedy. Jump In! had about as little saccharine-ness as a completely cliched DCOM can have.
4. Main character is well known for doing one thing. But he really wants to do something else. He starts to secretly do it, but it's detracting from his primary skill! He must make a choice, oh no! Will he go with his friends or his heart? I'm really glad there was a DCOM with this general plot because it's so, so rare to see one.
5. I really underrated the music for this before, whoops. I took it off the hates list. "Push It to the Limit" is a good song and "Jump to the Rhythm" is just as good as the rest of the non-"Outside Looking In" Jordan Pruitt songs. Robyn Johnson and Kirk Fitzpatrick (who wrote "Jump to the Rhythm") are legit songwriters, and I'm so glad to see Diz going outside its stable of songwriters for a change (Not that Matt Gerrard and Jamie Houston aren't legit songwriters, of course). Anyways both of the songs are really catchy, 7/10 type songs. The Keke Palmer song isn't bad either.
6. The choreography in the jump ropes scene was fun.
FINAL COMMENTS/RATING: Despite an incredibly cliched plot and thin, one-dimensional characters, winning and charming performances from the leads, fun choreography during the jump rope scenes, and an overriding sincerity and earnestness make Jump In! eminently watchable as a movie. 6.5/10 and one of the better DCOM's. But below the upper tier of the movies, which still consists just of RIAW, HSM, and Life-Size as far as I'm concerned.