Frenemies was directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer and based on a novel by Alexa Young. The film is in three acts, separated by story but connected by high school and the titular theme of being frenemies. This tripartite format put me out of my DCOM element a little bit, as it’s truly unique for the channel to design a movie this way. The closest thing I can compare it to is a three-part crossover episode (“That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana,” “Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana”). Even though it’s different, it still feels like a 2012 DCOM.
By this point, I was a senior in high school and wasn’t watching the channel quite as much as I had even a couple of years before. However, my sister is much younger than me, so I continued to watch certain shows and DCOMs that my peers probably didn’t. I just don’t have a memory of Frenemies, so maybe I didn’t watch it when it came out.
These are the three acts:
- Jake is a science kid with a lovable dog named Murray. A Sharpay-esque popular girl named Julianne sinks her hooks into him so that she can get a good grade on her science project. She can’t stand Murray the dog, and the feeling is mutual. Murray tries to destroy one of Julianne’s love letters by flushing it down the toilet. She wants the dog to disappear, so she sprays her perfume on Jake’s precious NASA award, and Murray tries to put it down the toilet, too. Jake is furious and yells at Murray, so Murray runs away and is rescued by Savannah. Savannah discovers that Julianne is lying to other boys at school, telling them they are her boyfriends so she can get good grades. Murray and Jake are reunited as best buds, and Jake and Savannah can be together now.
- Avalon (Bella Thorne) and Halley (Zendaya) are fashion bloggers with a website called Geekly Chic. They only have three or four readers, and then a New York publisher magically calls them up about a job. But she can only work with one of them. Avalon and Halley quickly begin fighting for the perfect article, but they both want to write about the same thing: a French rock star. They each crash his concert and discover that he’s not really French. That’s the big story that they deliver to the publisher — together. She won’t hire them both, so they walk out best friends again and end up on the local news for their endeavors.
- Savannah (from the first story) meets her doppelgänger, Emma, at a shoe store (very Sister, Sister), and the two decide to switch places. Savannah is a skater chick, and Emma is a rich British kid. They don’t like each other’s lives after all, but they do enjoy stealing each other’s boyfriends for a while. Emma and Savannah reach a truce and switch back at a huge, very choreographed dance party.
The glue: Bella Thorne and Zendaya. Their characters write about each story for their blog and provide segues for each part by opening and closing the stories on a tablet. Did I mention this was 2012?
Okay, I know pieces of Frenemies were a little far-fetched, but it was still a cute movie and a refreshing way to organize multiple stories into one. In case you’re not familiar with this era of the channel, Zendaya and Bella Thorne were at the height of their Shake It Up run, so, much like Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato with Princess Protection Program, Frenemies served as a bestie vehicle of sorts, except that Demi and Selena were best friends in real life, and Zendaya and Bella Thorne played besties on their TV show.
And I have to say it: Jake’s mom is played by Kathryn Greenwood, the mom from Switching Goals with Mary-Kate and Ashley!!! I recognized her instantly, and now I want to rewatch the twins’ 2000 soccer movie.
“If you really care about your best friend, anyone can overcome being frenemies,” Zendaya’s character says at the end. I’m not sure that I agree with that. The whole frenemies concept is tricky, and I don’t think it’s always something to “overcome.” Some people grow apart and aren’t meant to be BFFs for life. But then again, I suppose they don’t have to act like frenemies, either. They could just leave each other alone. Or be cordial but uninvolved.
With that, I’m left to ponder the fact that 2012 was 10 years ago. Meaning I graduated from high school 10 years ago…