Every now and then in the history of the world something comes along that's just so unspeakably horrible and repugnant that mere words cannot express the sheer volume of it's horror. I can list off several things Justin Bieber, Michael Bay's constant desire to remake 90s cartoons into live action blockbuster movies, The "Twilight" Saga, "Persons Unknown", The Final Season of "Dexter", I could go on, but while those things are arguably opinion based and are open to debate, this however IS NOT! This caused me to resurrect "The Best Of The Worst" in article form early because this TRULY IS THE VERY BEST OF THE WORST!
Before I go on, let me address the elephant in the room, "Ugo, why are you reviewing a children's movie?". That's a very good and valid question and the answer to that is simple: like my esteemed Rogues Gallery colleague Larry Williams, I too believe that simply because something is designated for children doesn't mean it has to lack cleverness, intelligence and depth (which is why I'm a fan of "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic", but that's another topic) and because of my own damned morbid curiosity (which is what caused me to sit through the entire 2nd season of "American Horror Story"...still attempting to recover my lost brain cells, any and all donations are welcomed, by the way). Hopefully, that addressed those questions. That being said, let's dive into quite possibly the WORST movie you'll ever read about. Strap yourselves in for "Zapped".
So for starters, you're probably wondering what "Zapped" is about ? Here's a quick synopsis of the plot, courtesy of IMDB;
"Centers on sixteen year-old Zoey Stevens a skilled dancer and straight-A student who is having a hard time adjusting to a new high school, a new and klutzy dance squad, a new step-dad, three new rowdy step-brothers and an unruly dog. But things change when a dog training app on her smart phone begins to somehow control all the boys around her"
Now from what you just read, this already sounds like a bad idea and after watching the movie I can tell you that it's WAY, WAY, WAY WORSE than what your suspicions are. How much worse, you ask? Well picture this, you're innocently sitting in your room playing videos or watching your favorite show or whatever, doing what you enjoy doing and some woman (who you don't know) suddenly bursts into your room and FORCES you to not only STOP doing whatever it is that you're doing but FORCES you to do something she wants you to do, simply because she perceives whatever it is that you were doing as a "waste of time" and it annoys her that you do it. Now do you see what's in stored? Because that's actually what happens.
|STOP GAINING PERSONAL ENJOYMENT FROM SOMETHING I DIDN'T ALLOW YOU TO ENJOY, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!|
Zoey comes across a group of guys innocently playing video games outside the school, these guys previously ignored her when she needed directions to her classroom, not because they were jerks, but they were too enthralled in their games. After Zoey gets this new found ability to control boys, she orders them to, and I quote "You video game dudes, start doing something good for your spiritual and physical well being." and they put down their video games (which they clearly enjoy) and do Yoga. She also FORCES a group of skateboarders (who earlier on the film skated passed Zoey, COMPLETELY missing her, but this is enough to justify her actions) to STOP skateboarding and be gentlemen, which causes them to throw their sweaters over a puddle so Zoey and Rachel don't have to walk into it, also one of the skateboarders who doesn't have anything to lay down, THROWS himself over the puddle (of course, Zoey and Rachel DON'T walk on him...because that'd be sexist), There's also a crew of shirtless guys outside the school just working out, lifting weights and such, Zoey orders them to put shirts on, BUT, Zoey's outcast friend Rachel tells Zoey that the shirtless boys were fine the way they were and like that, Zoey tells them to take their shirts off.
|Men don't get objectified the same way women do, right ?|
Oh speaking of Rachel, so Rachel mentions that she has a crush on a boy by the name Charlie Wang. Now, let's keep in mind that despite Rachel having a locker (literally) full of pictures of Charlie (makes one wonder if he's aware that she has these photos) Rachel hasn't exactly spoken to Charlie nor did she make an attempt at flirting with him or anything. The only exchange they have in the movie is Rachel saying "HI, CHARLIE!" as he passes her by and he only offers her a half-hearted wave of 2 fingers, it's the awkward wave of a guy who's just trying to be polite but has no idea of who you are or why you're saying "Hi." to them.
|"Hi...whoever you are..."|
So what does Zoey do with her magic little phone app? Why, she FORCES Charlie to open up about his feelings to Rachel, and HE DOES.
|Here, have your crush even though he may not be into you, have him anyway because you're TOTALLY entitled to know what he's feeling at ALL times...|
There are also this group of guys (who apparently are homeless) that smell like landfills and don't have the proper education to groom themselves, keep in mind these are high school aged boys who don't have the mental capacity to shower. When Zoey in all her benevolent girl perfectness floats in with her magic phone and FORCES them to shower, these boys suddenly become aware of their horrific odor and then become metrosexuals, waxing their eyebrows, filing their nails, exfoliating and all that. Oh and how could I NOT mention, The Trippster, Trippmeister, The Tripp Man, ect. ect. So theres this guy named Tripp, we're introduced to him when he (charmingly) "Fart Bombs" Zoey (and yes, that's exactly what it sounds like. Hannibal Lecter would be serving this guy with 8 kinds of dipping sauce with the level of rudeness coming from this guy). So Zoey, using the power of her superior X chromosome and her magic phone FORCES Tripp to be nice.
|Tripp in all his fart bombing glory...take it in|
But the Fascist behavior modification of Zoey Stevens doesn't stop at random boys, she also targets her own family. So at the beginning of the movie we learn that Zoey's mom is marrying a man who has 3 sons and a dog (who is also male, which Zoey emphatically tells the wedding guests during her "toast"). So Zoey has 3 step-brothers (who's names I can't remember and can't be bothered to look into) The Older One is excessively erratic, always hurrying and rushing from one thing to another, the Middle One is a "cook" of sorts, except his idea of cuisine would be something like Garlic Hot Dogs Applesauce or Kiwi Beef Tacos (something Pregnant women would no doubt enjoy) and The Youngest One is excessively messy, tracking mud in the house, that sorta thing. So Zoey, huffing the no doubt perfect scent of her own farts, uses her phone to FORCE The Older One to focus (which causes him to focus on a lampshade and muse about it's production), The Middle One to make less gross food (which causes him to become some sort of culinary wizard) and The Youngest One to be clean (which causes him to become a neat freak).
|Because she'd rather have you muse about a lampshade than actually be yourself...|
Also, Zoey's new step-father, Ted is a Basketball coach (shocker, right?) and The Older One is on the team (shocker, right?) so of course this means that Ted is SHOUTING ALL THE TIME! He wakes up his boys with an air-horn and rallies them together for school. Waking people up with an air-horn aside, Zoey is annoyed by Ted's energy, so, clearly drunk with power and that damned estrogen coursing through her veins that just makes her all that and a bag of potato chips, Zoey uses her magic phone and FORCES Ted to be quiet. Yes, Zoey's Fascist Utopia even sees her altering the behavior of her mother's husband...take a minute to ponder that.
This next bit is gonna take a bit of explaining but trust me, it's totally worth it. So the ONE PERFECT GUY in the whole school is this guy named Jackson Kale (despite the fact that I actually like him, when we're first introduced to him he's wearing sunglasses indoors...only a select group of people do that: blind people, cocaine addicts, douche bags, or people who are trying to sleep in places they shouldn't, oh he's also wearing a wool cap).
|Or attempting to hide signs of domestic violence, I forgot about that one.|
Now Jackson previously dated the film's villain (debatable term, considering) Taylor. Zoey and Jackson have a VERY clear attraction but neither of them have made "the move" yet. Jackson does ask Zoey out for lunch at a diner. After witnessing Zoey exhibiting behavior of Taylor, Jackson decides that maybe he should take things slow with Zoey. Zoey, being a girl and having all the knowledge, wisdom and logic in the universe manages to turn the situation into an accusation that Jackson is being dishonest about how he feels about Zoey (following me so far? No, don't worry about it.) Jackson honestly states he doesn't know how he feels about Zoey, and Zoey says "then just kiss me!"...which he does (on the cheek)...under the control of her phone...which means he was FORCED to do it.
Even Jackson is confused by this and tells Zoey that that isn't how he wanted that to happen (keep in mind, he doesn't know about the phone) and Zoey wasn't at all mortified that she was FORCING him to do it, but she was confused about why it was on the cheek and not on the lips (which is clearly what she was preparing for). Despite the fact that Jackson did indeed want to kiss Zoey, he wanted to do so on his own terms, when he was ready to do it, apparently, waiting for Jackson's own terms wasn't fast enough for Zoey and she essential FORCED him upon herself.
Now earlier, I mentioned the film's villain, a girl named Taylor who the captain of the Varsity Dance Team, Jackson's ex-girlfriend and all around mega-b*tch. Because Taylor caught Jackson escorting Zoey to her class, she officially hates her (were you expecting some other justification?). So when Zoey tries out for the Varsity dance team, Taylor orders her to be on the junior varsity team, which are basically a team of nerds with 2 left feet. Zoey uses her magic phone to FORCE the J.V. team to become AMAZING dancers, like she is and goes to the Principal to suggest that the J.V. team should represent the school, NOT the Varsity team. This causes The Principal to set up a Dance Off. Taylor (somehow) realizes that Zoey is using her phone to control boys and (wouldn't you know it?) manages to steal Zoey's phone and gains control over the boys.
|Still not as oppressive as Zoey.|
Aside from the fact that Taylor openly committed a felony, she's now using the phone to make the boys do things like carry her around in a makeshift throne and bow down to her, while I won't deny that these things are degrading, I'm going to argue that they're not as bad as what Zoey did, the reason being is that Taylor's commands with the phone don't carry with it the same "I'm doing this for your own good." like Zoey's commands did. Taylor even points this out to Zoey saying Zoey didn't stop what she was doing, so why should she? Which is pretty air-tight, considering that Zoey never considered stopping but in her own words "give the guys a slightly longer leash", that's a direct quote by the way.
|Is she not merciful ?|
Earlier on in the film, Zoey's step brothers make a comment that dogs will never turn on their own pack, this tidbit plays into the climax of the film. Now in the film "Gamer" (yes, this is important and SPOILERS FOR THE FILM "GAMER") the hero has nanites in his brain that puts him under the physical control of the villain, the hero manages to convince the villain to order the hero to stab him, which was EXTREMELY clever and well thought out as the only logical way such a confrontation would end. "Gamer" and "Zapped" are both movie based around the concept of mind control but instead of Zoey cleverly tricking Taylor into giving the boys a command that would result in her losing the phone, the writers decide to (literally) deus ex machina the ending by having Zoey's family members suddenly RIP free from the phone's control and join Zoey who's acting like a dog to appease Taylor to release her family and they all proceed to act like dogs. The justification for this is that a dog will never turn on their own pack. This would have made more sense if Taylor ordered one of Zoey's family members to do something to her like take her away or dump garbage on her and the family members resisted...that'd make a much more profound statement.
|MORE profound than this...|
Keep in mind, this is happening in a gym, in front of an entire audience and while all the men are bowing down to Taylor and both basketball teams are dancing a chorus line, the girls and women in the stands are just sitting around scratching their heads and wondering what's going on. Keep in mind, Zoey told her family about the magic phone, Zoey's Mom is aware of the phone and it's powers at this point, and while her husband is acting like a dog per Taylor's command, Zoey's mother does nothing to wrench the phone from Taylor's control and save her husband from humiliation...she just sits there...
Anyways, Zoey wins the dance off...which she got into under false pretenses and they only won because the one boy in the group suggested they do The Haka (which is the only good thing in the movie) but of course, Zoey ignore this request until the last minute. So do I have to state the obvious with this article ? I'm going to anyway, but I'm legitimately asking because unfortunately there are some people who don't know what the obvious is. Gender Politics aside, and trust me, we'll get to those, this is a movie which features the protagonist trying to make the world a better place by FORCING PEOPLE TO DO WHAT SHE WANTS THEM TO DO, in the world of Politics we call that FASCISM! Simply because she doesn't like video games and skateboards she demands that others don't either and FORCES them to stop enjoying what they enjoy and enjoy something she enjoys. That's probably the biggest issue I had with this movie. Stop enjoying what you enjoy, enjoy what I want you to enjoy, it's better for you. I LOATHE people like that.
|I know what's best for everyone because I'm better than everyone.|
Getting on the topic of gender politics, do I even have to say this? Yes, I do. Just reverse the plot and imagine a movie where a guy suddenly obtains an app that controls girls, truth is you don't have to imagine a movie like that because those movies tend to exist in the porno section of your local video store. Zoey and Rachel are fine with guys taking their shirts off (granted they had them off already, but that was by their own volition) now imagine 2 guys FORCING a group of hot girls to take their clothes off for their own enjoyment. One guy has a crush on a girl that's TOTALLY out of his league, no problem, just FORCE her to go out with you, and why not FORCE her to give him a B.J. while they're at it. Also, why not FORCE a girl to make them sandwiches and FORCE them to stop talking about shoes and makeup and stuff like that, and let's do this ALL UNDER THE PRETEXT THAT EVERYTHING IS BETTER THIS WAY!
|"Zapped" for boys.|
Feminists would be shouting to high Hell if the sexes were reversed in this movie and don't tell me they wouldn't! Like the scene with the kiss, as I mentioned before, Zoey was mortified that she commanded Jackson to kiss her she was confused that he kissed her on the cheek, when she thought she FORCED him to kiss her on the lips. Reverse the sexes, if a boy FORCED a girl to kiss him when she wasn't ready to do so, Feminist would be hollering RAPE until they were blue in the face, but Zoey does it and NO ONE CARES. The boys in this movie are portrayed as sloppy, brainless neanderthals who don't even have enough intelligence to shower or display simply basic manners like NOT FARTING ON PEOPLE! And while Tripp is the ONLY character in this movie that's truly rude, Zoey's step-brothers simply annoy her and that's reason enough for her to become Mussolini of their personalities and (literally) dictate what they CAN AND CANNOT DO!
|Even Mussolini is appalled.|
Granted this movie is getting RIGHTFULLY torn apart on IMDB, but still not enough is written about this INSANELY sexist movie that's being marketed to children and boys and girls and boys are being fed the message that they're defective, gross, annoying and a bane to the existence of girls, and girls are being fed the message that they're perfect in everyway and even if they become complete and total fascists, they're justified in their fascist mentality and will be completely forgiven even if everything goes completely and utterly wrong. The movies tries desperately to moralize it's why out of the horrific ideology by saying things like "give boys time, they'll come around." and even going so far as to have Zoey wear a shirt that says "BOYS" while she's dancing, so that makes everything okay.
|See, I love boys, honest I do! Look at my shirt, see! It says "BOYS" because I love boys.|
Frankly, this movie is appalling on a gender level, a political level, and it's appalling as a movie in it's own right, with the deus ex machina ending, a protagonist that we're supposed to like despite the fact that she thinks she's better than everyone, which is not hard to be considering everyone around her is either stupid, PAINFULLY awkward, complete and total morons or absolute b*tches. I'm not one to shout "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" but honestly, THINK OF THE CHILDREN! This is NOT the kind of crap we should be showing them, this isn't cool, this isn't funny and it sure as hell ain't good writing. It's worthless, sexist drivel that deserves nothing but scorn. I shouldn't be surprised that Disney would endorse such filth. This is basically fascist pornography with Feminist ideology crammed in there wrapped up in a neat little bow. Disgusting. I can't say enough awful things about this movie (and believe me I have MUCH more to say) but at some point I'd be beating a dead horse. Anyways, that'll do it for me. Leave your thoughts and comments below if you've seen this piece of trash.