Stuck in the Suburbs was written by Wendy Engelberg, Andy Engelberg, and Dan Berendsen. The film was directed by Savage Steve Holland and features the work of amazing DCOM composer David Kitay. While Brenda Song was already a Disney Channel veteran at this point (two prior DCOMs, voiceover work, That’s So Raven episode, appearances on Phil of the Future), this was Danielle Panabaker’s first appearance on Disney Channel. Her sister Kay was also on the first season of Phil, and both siblings would star in the 2006 DCOM Read It & Weep.
As I indicated when I wrote about its soundtrack last year, Stuck in the Suburbs is easily one of the most nostalgic DCOMs for me. The music, the fashion, and the zany plot all make for a really fun time. Danielle’s character, Brittany Aarons, is stuck in suburbia. She and her three best friends are obsessed with pop star Jordan Cahill (Taran Killam). Brittany suddenly stifles her adoration for the singer when a cool new chick named Natasha (Brenda Song) comes to town. Natasha is an individual, which is exactly what Brittany aspires to be. She wants to stand out from the monotony of her neighborhood. Jordan Cahill has a parallel struggle. While standing out is no problem for the star, he isn’t satisfied with his life and wants people to see who he really is. His record label is making him sing words that are meaningless to him.
When Brittany and all her friends attend Jordan’s music video shoot, she and his assistant drop all their things and accidentally switch phones. No, this would not happen in real life. Yes, it makes for an interesting story. The assistant, Eddie, becomes angry that Brittany and Natasha have Jordan’s phone, and the girls gradually start upending Jordan’s life with the Palm Pilot-esque device. I noticed the clever camera work in some of these scenes. A hairdresser, at Natasha’s prompting, cuts off all of Jordan’s hair. She was instructed to never look him in the eye and to only feed him raisins. When Jordan sees his surprising new ‘do and freaks out, the stylist falls to her knees and offers him a raisin. Cut to Brittany’s family at dinner — the mom places a container full of raisins on the table. In another scene, we look at Brittany and Natasha from inside an open locker. They’re calling Eddie, who appears in a twin shot from the inside of a refrigerator. I appreciate these little touches.
The mom in this movie is advocating for the preservation of a historic home, and after a whole bunch of chasing around and explanations about the whole phone switchup, Jordan Cahill sings at her rally. The family in this film is cute overall. Mom feels bad that Brittany writes sad songs, Dad tries to make her cover up when she bares her midriff, older sister is a great student but a bad driver, and the little brother is always hiding in Brittany’s room, but he knows how to break into Jordan’s cell phone. And yes, Drew Seeley is working at the hotel desk when Natasha and Brittany first try to return the phone. I’m glad I revisited this film yet again, because I truly enjoyed the whole thing!