Mitchel Musso had some experience as a school mascot. He had donned the Pirate Pete costume for Hannah Montana, and in Hatching Pete, he is seen as his school’s favorite chicken. However, Musso’s character, Cleatus Poole, is ready to ditch the feathers because of his allergies. He approaches his bestie, Pete (played by Jason Dolley), for a deal: if Pete will sub in as the chicken, Cleatus will help Pete land a date with Cleatus’s sister, Cammie.
Before I get any further, the rest of this curious cast must be acknowledged: Brian Stepanek (aka Arwin from The Suite Life) plays the school basketball coach. Edward Herrmann (aka Richard Gilmore from Gilmore Girls, RIP) plays the school principal. Sonny with a Chance star Tiffany Thornton is a cheerleader named Jamie, and Josie Loren (of Make It or Break It fame) is Angela, also a cheerleader.
Ah, Jason Dolley. I tweeted that he’s a “DCOM everyman,” and it’s so true. In Read It and Weep, he’s the best friend longing to be the boyfriend. He feels that in Minutemen, too. And eventually in Hatching Pete. Even though Pete wanted Cammie, he starts to find feelings for Angela, who has a long-distance boyfriend for much of the movie. Pete is basically invisible. People think he’s a new kid at school, when he’s really been there all along. A chicken suit is a clever vehicle for exploring popularity. Mascots aren’t always depicted as “cool” in teen TV or movies, but the chicken is sought-after. Pete continues to secretly perform mascot duties for Cleatus. But how will people not notice Cleatus out in the crowd? Well, we see Mitchel Musso with the school colors painted on his face, an afro wig on his head.
For a long time, the guys pull it off. Pete comes into his own as the chicken, but Cleatus gets all the credit (attracting the attention of cheerleader Jamie) until they both get found out. It’s a little bit of a wild goose chase, er… chicken chase? So I’ll let you watch the film to see how everything unravels. But of course, Pete and Angela get together — she knew Pete was the chicken due to his line about how “the magic is in the mystery.”
You bet there’s an official DCOM song for this movie. It’s 2009, baby! Of course we have a movie theme song in the post-HSM landscape! Hilariously, our song is called “Let It Go,” which should be a familiar title almost a decade after Frozen first premiered. Pete’s “Let It Go” features Mitchel Musso and Tiffany Thornton and even includes rapping. You’ll notice the cheerleaders dancing to it in the film. Hatching Pete is certainly a unique one, so check it out if you’re curious. This movie was directed by Stuart Gillard and written by Paul W. Cooper.