I had a blast rewatching Jump In! for its 15th anniversary. This movie is evocative of middle school memories for me, as I was in 7th grade when it premiered. Corbin Bleu was at the height of the High School Musical mania, and he and Keke Palmer make the cutest couple in Jump In! This is my fist proper “athletic DCOM” on the roster for this year. As with many others, a child’s dreams are at odds with a parent’s. Corbin Bleu plays Izzy Daniels opposite his real-life dad, David Reivers, as his movie dad. Izzy is following in his father’s footsteps to be a boxer, until he has the opportunity to fill a spot on a Double Dutch jump rope team and compete with them.
Izzy juggles his ropes and his gloves so that his dad won’t be upset, but he still has to contend with Rodney, a bully whose family is struggling to make ends meet. Izzy feels sorry for the guy and delivers clothes to his doorstep, but the two are still at odds. When Rodney secretly takes photos of Izzy and his team practicing Double Dutch (to make fun of him at school), Izzy’s dad discovers the evidence in his son’s room. Izzy temporarily abandons his jump rope plans to zero in on boxing, but he can’t ignore his love for Double Dutch, so he reunites with his team for the big competition, and they advance to the state championships.
Izzy and his father have a heart-to-heart, and his dad explains that boxing was a way for both of them to bond after Izzy’s mom passed away. Though the “it’s not my dream dad, it’s yours” idea is there, Izzy doesn’t have to say those exact words. His dad now understands that it’s okay for his son to be passionate about something other than boxing. In a sweet revelation at the end, we see that the film’s narrator was Rodney, the former bully, who is telling his story to a group of kids.
Filmed in Toronto and set in Brooklyn, this DCOM was directed by Paul Hoen, who won the Director’s Guild Award for it. The film also features such a great soundtrack, including “Push It To the Limit” by Corbin Bleu as well as “Jump to the Rhythm” by Jordan Pruitt, “It’s My Turn Now” and “Jumpin'” by Keke Palmer, and “I’m Ready” by Drew Seeley. Jump In! performed incredibly well, taking the spot for most-watched DCOM premiere until High School Musical 2 later in 2007.
I highly recommend this movie to any audience. Along with the central story between Izzy and his dad, Izzy and Mary’s chemistry is so special and consistent. The Double Dutch scenes are also a delight to watch, from the energetic music to the sharp costuming and lighting. 15 years later, Jump In! is just as good. Now, go watch “Push It To the Limit.”