Den Brother is a great pick-me-up of a DCOM, and a nice choice for the winter season. This is yet another hockey movie, but the game is secondary to the girl scouts, or Bumble Bees, as they’re called here. Hutch Dano from Zeke & Luther stars as Alex, a lazy high schooler. His sister Emily is played by G (Genevieve) Hannelius, the darling of late 2000s/early 2010s Disney Channel. You can see her in every episode of Dog with a Blog, but she also appeared on Hannah Montana and Jessie and had guest arcs on Good Luck Charlie and Sonny with a Chance.
In 2022, Genevieve (most recently seen in Netflix’s Along for the Ride) is now an actual adult with her own nail polish line. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College last year. Hutch Dano is an artist specializing in abstract pieces. But in 2010, they were adorable DCOM stars. When the Bumble Bees’ troop mom moves away, there seems to be no one else who can step in. Alex feels enough sympathy for his sister to take over as Den Mother. He’s also somewhat motivated to work towards fixing up his used car. But despite prompting from his father, Alex doesn’t like to work too hard.
Because he’s so lazy, Alex doesn’t encourage the Bumble Bee girls to pursue real badges. Instead, he makes fake badges to get them to do all his chores. He has to create a coverup so the woman in charge of all the troops doesn’t realize he’s not an actual mom. Whenever necessary, he transforms into the boisterous Mrs. Zamboni, inspired by his time on the ice.
Alex shows signs of genuinely caring about his sister, but he also wants to impress a troop volunteer named Matisse. It’s pretty cute to see this hockey bro running around with his little troop members. The cuteness makes it even sadder when they realize Alex’s badges were a sham, and that he lied to them. It gets worse. The girls are selling cupcakes at a hockey game Alex should be playing (following a suspension), but he’s masquerading as Mrs. Zamboni. Unable to resist stealing the spotlight, Alex blows his cover and skates into the game while dressed in his Mrs. Zamboni garb. Again, these girls are rightfully disappointed in him. He has to seek help from his neighbor, Mrs. Jacklitz. In a touching moment, Alex realizes that she was the troop leader of his deceased mother. Mrs. Jacklitz temporarily leads the Bumble Bees and helps them earn legitimate badges.
Things turn out okay in the DCOM way that they always do. There’s a “reading of the rules” scene at the end where the Bumble Bees and Alex prove that he’s allowed to lead the troop; reminds me a little bit of Motocrossed when the female racing director officially states that Andrea can race with the guys. Even though he was careless for much of this movie, Alex impresses the coach of the local All-Star hockey team. He agrees to fill a spot as long as he can still lead the troop. Super cool fact: DCOM dad (The Other Me, Eddie’s Million-Dollar Cookoff) Mark L. Taylor directed this film. He was also Mr. Fulton in HSM 2. I’ve always liked Den Brother, and I hope you’ll give it a try!